5 Phenomenal Road Trip Comedies

PHENOM 5

I had originally set out to list 5 phenomenal road trip movies but the list grew too big and there were too many films I simply couldn’t leave off. To remedy my predicament I decided to break them down between comedy and drama. We are starting with some of the funnier cross-country journeys. Doing it this way proved to be chore. There are so many to choose from. For that reason I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. Still there’s no denying that these five road trip comedies are nothing short of phenomenal.

#5 – “Tommy Boy”

TOMMY

Let me start off by saying that I have a genuine soft spot for this nutty 1995 Chris Farley and David Spade vehicle. The two Saturday Night Live vets were known for their chemistry. Spade was the sour, sarcastic, stick-in-the-mud while Farley was the klutzy, lovable goofball. Here they set off on a cross-country sales trip to try and save his father’s company. Obviously things don’t go well and most of it is due to Farley’s idiocy. But it is one hysterical trip mainly thanks to the clashing personalities of the two characters.

#4 – “Smokey and the Bandit”

SMOKEY

There are so many things I equate with “Smokey and the Bandit”. The popular Jerry Reed song “East Bound and Down”. The cute-as-a-button Sally Fields. That black Pontiac Trans Am that I still wish I had. But in terms of comedy it introduced us to one of film’s funniest characters – Sheriff Buford T. Justice. The late and great Jackie Gleason played the role and to say he stole much of the movie wouldn’t be a stretch. This surly, Texas Sheriff’s determination to catch Bandit is only overshadowed by his blindness to his own ineptitude. It makes for some truly hilarious encounters and several classic Gleason lines.

#3 – “Dumb and Dumber”

There is a mind-numbing quality to the humor of this 1994 Farrelly brothers road trip romp. But unlike the awful prequel and sequel, “Dumb and Dumber” had a certain charm and it never felt as if it was forcing itself to be funny. In it we get Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels playing two well-meaning (well, sometimes) idiots traveling from Rhode Island to Aspen, Colorado to return a briefcase. Obviously when you have characters with the IQ’s of a sock there will be obstacles. Carrey and Daniels have a blast and there are so many funny moments. Consider me a member of the film’s substantial cult following.

#2 – “The Blues Brothers”

BLUES

The only reason this musical comedy from 1980 isn’t tops on the list is because it may not be a road trip movie in the purest sense (whatever that means). But I feel it does fit here and it is simply too good to leave off. John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd set off on their “mission from God” to save the orphanage they grew up in. To do that they have to find and put back together their old blues band to earn the money to save their childhood home. Hysterical characters, wild car chases, great song and dance numbers – they all play a part in this high-energy and truly funny movie.

#1 – “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”

PLANES

There are so many movies that could have made and even topped this list (“Vacation” will surely come to mind), but I have such an affection for this 1987 gem (one of John Hughes’ best films). Steve Martin plays a high strung executive trying to get from New York City to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. A missed taxi cab, a blizzard, and a flight delay threaten that. Thankfully there is John Candy who plays a chatty traveling shower curtain ring salesman. The two are polar opposites yet they keep crossing paths often times with very funny results. Martin and Candy play off of each other like experts and deliver one great scene after another.

There are my five road trip comedies. Do you have any thoughts on these or any others I didn’t mention? Please take time to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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32 thoughts on “5 Phenomenal Road Trip Comedies

    • A couple of them could get picked apart if someone wanted to do so. Personally I think they are all a hoot. And this wasn’t intentional, but with the semi-exception of “Smokey”, all of these are two people traveling together!

  1. Smokey and the Bandit is pure 1970’s Americana. It’s Coors beer and hot dogs, Diablo sandwich and Dr. Pepper. It’s ten-gallon hats, roaring engines and a fantastical idea of the glory of American life on the road. All rounded off by cute as a button Sally Field and Burt Reynolds’ moustache. It’s just as easy to absent-mindedly enjoy as it is to dismiss.

    • Couldn’t have said it better. Jerry Reed’s bell bottoms, a hound dog named Fred, a bride on the run, a cowboy hat, and a County Mountie. It’s just sooo good, right? It’s definitely a movie of its period. But I still have a blast with it today.

    • Dumb and Dumber is hilarious to me. Stupid beyond measure, but hilarious. Nebraska is a movie I absolutely love. But I never could come down on it as a comedy or drama. I don’t think it is purely either. To be honest I quit trying to decide and just left it off. REALLY glad someone mentioned it.

  2. Cool list. Blues Brothers would probably be my #1. Five more to consider:

    National Lampoon’s Vacation
    National Lampoon’s European Vacation
    Road Trip
    Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
    The Warriors

    • Interesting additions. I mentioned “Vacation”. Thought it was too obvious. I like “European Vacation”. It has several hilarious moments. Don’t care for “Road Trip” and thoroughly dislike what I was able to sit through with “Harold & Kumar”. Really like “The Warriors” but don’t consider it a comedy.

  3. “Obviously when you have characters with the IQ’s of a sock there will be obstacles.” <– hilarious line. Kind of sums up those characters in a nutshell.

    I really believe you when you say this was a chore to sort this out to just 5 films. Road trip films are really some of my favorite outings. I can't believe I still have never seen Planes, Trains & Automobiles. That must be corrected ASAP.

    I think of these 5 here, Tommy Boy might be my tops. That film is not only hilarious, it has so much heart. And it's the one thing I can actually tolerate David Spade in. 🙂

  4. I too have a lot of love for Smokey and Planes, Trains. Very funny films that remind me of childhood. Shamefully I’ve never seen The Blues Brothers!

    • Blues is a hoot. It’s a movie all its own. I remember my parents loving it when I was a little kid. They bought the 8-track of the soundtrack and played it in the car all the time.

  5. Planes, Trains and Autoobiles is amazing. Such heart and genuinely funny comedy in there. Love Tommy Boy and Dumb and Dumber too, Tommy Boy, in particular is very underrated.
    Great post!

    • I’m really glad to hear someone else defend Tommy Boy. I’m a big fan of that movie but I think it often gets pushed to the side. There is some great chemistry between those two.

  6. Lost in America, Little Miss Sunshine, It Happened One Night, Rat Race, and The Muppet Movie. How’s that for a range of choices? I’d probably put The Muppet Movie at the top. “Movin’ Right Along”. Just watched Planes Trains and Automobiles for the forty or fiftieth time. Great pick for number one. “How do they know which way we’re going?”

    • Yes that line!!!! Ha!

      It Happened One Night is a great pick and it was one I hated to leave out. Believe it or not I still haven’t seen Little Miss Sunshine. Forgot about the Muppets though. Good call!

    • AWESOME!!! I am so glad to see that there are others who liked Tommy Boy. Don’t you feel it is a tad underrated? You don’t hear many people talking about it. It think it’s a hoot.

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