50 Greatest Comedies of the 21st Century

From rom-coms to raunch-coms, 'Anchorman' to 'Wet Hot American Summer' – the funniest movies of the new millennium so far

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'A Serious Man' (2009)
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15. 'A Serious Man' (2009)

Joel and Ethan Coen make their most personal film yet, a unsettlingly uproarious Job parable set in their Minnesota hometown of St. Louis Park and its tight Jewish community. A put-upon physics professor up for tenure watches his marriage falls apart, while his cyst-suffering, Mentaculus-obsessed brother is wanted by the police and his reefer-loving son preps for an upcoming Bar Mitzvah. But the real subject is an unjust universe, where Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and Schrödinger's cat only deepen the mystery of a life rife with obtuse rabbis, fuzzy F-Troop reception and dogged calls from the Columbia Record Club. A Rosetta Stone for deciphering the filmmakers' signature brand of empathetic nihilism and its place in the Judaic storytelling tradition, A Serious Man mixes cringe-worthy comedy with caustic insights about the struggle for meaning in a naggingly enigmatic world. SG

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