The awkwardness of high school is fertile ground for comedy. Hormones/puberty, the first glimpses of freedom, romantic entanglements, and beginning to figure out one’s place in the world, these teenage years are essential if torturous.
In honor of the release of “Booksmart,” below are ten of the best high school comedies to date. Titles that just missed the cut include “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Better Off Dead,” “Charlie Bartlett,” “Clueless,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Heathers,” “Just One of the Guys,” “Never Been Kissed,” and “Superbad,” all of which showcase what an embarrassment of riches the subgenre contains.
10. “American Pie” (1999)
dir: Paul Weitz
The hilarity of losing one’s virginity is a situation heightened to absurdity with “American Pie,” while also presenting an idealized version of an understanding parent. Without exception, teenagers are often embarrassed by their parents. Jim (Jason Biggs) is embarrassed by his dad (Eugene Levy), but the patriarch’s determination to never judge his son is not just a riot, but consistently touching. Sex isn’t the only part of the high school experience, but it’s the one with the most potential for comedy. Whether it’s the infamous pie scene or Jim’s dad bringing him pornography, awkwardness and discomfort is used here to tremendously funny effect.