Top 10 Comedy Movies Ever Adapted
Image from: "High Fidelity" (2000), Touchstone Pictures
High Fidelity opened with $6.4M and has since become a cult classic with one of the greatest soundtracks in cinema history. But even amongst fans, few are familiar with the novel on which the movie is based.
"High Fidelity" by British author Nick Hornsby contains all of the movie’s apathetic wit, but moves locations from London to Chicago and changes the name of the main character from Rob Fleming to Rob Gordon. Sounding much like his protagonist, Hornsby said of the movie that, “at times, it appears to be a film in which John Cusack reads my book."
The Parent Trap
Image from: "The Parent Trap" (1998). Walt Disney Pictures
"The Parent Trap" was a quintessential Disney family film. It touted family values, it was funny, and it made $11M during its opening weekend.
In true Disney form, the plot for "The Parent Trap" was taken from a foreign country and adapted for American audiences. In 1949, German author Erich Kästner published "Lottie and Lisa." The story is the same, except that the girls are Viennese. A slightly less than fun fact is that Kästner pitched the idea of the same story for a movie in 1942, but was unable to produce it because of the political conflicts with Nazi Germany.
Image from: "Pitch Perfect" (2012). Universal Pictures
A cappella has always been a punchline (see The Office’s Andrew Bernard) but the release of "Pitch Perfect" made sure that no one would ever take a cappella seriously again. With a $14.8M opening weekend, no one is likely to forget how much fun it is to laugh at a cappella singers when they try to take themselves seriously.
Shortly before the movie’s release, self-admitted a cappella nerd, Mickey Rapkin wrote "Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate a Cappella Glory." The author, who loved the movie’s portrayal of a cappella, admitted that the movie only took the premise of an all-girl a capella’s return to glory and ran with it, providing a sensationalized version of what college a cappella is about.
Image from: "Legally Blonde" (2001). MGM
"Legally Blonde," with its dubious start of having a blonde girl chase her crush to Harvard, made a surprise turnaround by having its protagonist, Elle Woods, gain independence and purpose, and by earning $20M during its opening weekend.
The book that inspired the movie was actually released after the movie’s debut. "Legally Blonde"by Amanda Brown was still a manuscript at the time of the movie’s unexpected success, and was rushed to bookshelves to capitalize on it. Unlike the movie, the book’s setting is Stanford, but they did not want to be associated with the film.
Father of the Bride
Image from: "Father of the Bride" (1991). Touchstone Pictures
Though some might prefer the 1950 version, 1991’s "Father of the Bride" is a funny and heartwarming movie featuring Steve Martin, which is enough for most to like it better than other movies without Steve Martin. Moviegoers seemed to agree, as it earned $15M during its opening weekend.
Forty-five years before the Steve Martin version, "Father of the Bride" was a novel by Edward Streeter. The beats of the story remain the same, but the movie takes place in the 90’s while the book takes place almost fifty years earlier, when jokes were surely not as dirty.
Image from: "Freaky Friday" (2003). Walt Disney Pictures
Lindsay Lohan certainly has a way of taking roles in rebooted family comedies, with 2003’s "Freaky Friday" being one of the most memorable. In its opening weekend, it earned $22.2M and showcased Jamie Lee Curtis’ comedic chops, who at the time was still shedding her horror queen image.
The story of "Freaky Friday" was originally a 1972 children’s novel by Mary Rodgers. In it, a 13-year-old wakes up in her mother’s body and comes to appreciate how hard her mother works. Unlike the movie, the book reveals that the mother switched their bodies to teach her daughter a lesson and there is no mention of a magical Chinese restaurant.
The Love Bug
Image from: "The Love Bug" (1968). Walt Disney Pictures
Disney recreating an old story is nothing new, but in the case of "The Love Bug," Walt Disney himself saw that the source story never even saw print. The original movie iteration of the anthropomorphic Volkswagen was a success, earning $51.2M at the box office.
The original story was supposed to be about America’s first sports car, but Walt Disney stepped in with the unpublished book, "Car, Boy, Girl" by Gordon Buford. The studio bought the book and the rest is a history of increasingly disappointing sequels.
10 Things I Hate About You
Image from: "10 Things I Hate About You" (1999). Touchstone Pictures
Among a swarm of Shakespeare adaptations "10 Things I Hate About You" is easily the funniest and most accessible. In addition, the film launched the careers of Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Heath Ledger, and earned $8.3M during its opening weekend.
Unfortunately, "The Taming of the Shrew," on which the story is based, is not as well received. Many find the idea of calling a wife a shrew or taming said wife through starvation misogynistic (it is). The movie, however, leaves behind Elizabethan values and brings out the best of Shakespeare: conniving and headstrong characters, heartfelt drama, and jokes.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Image from: "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" (2003). Paramount Pictures
"How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" is a sincerely funny movie with a silly premise that didn’t stop it from making $23.7M in its opening weekend. But before the movie was released, Michele Alexander and Jeannie Long wrote a book called "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: The Universal Don’ts of Dating."
The book, which is marketed as a self-help book and as a comic, has several major differences from the film. There is no central storyline or (apart from stylized stick figures) characters. But, like the movie, Alexander and Long’s book is a funny and heartfelt send-up of dating conventions.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Image from: "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982). Universal Pictures
There was a time in the 80’s that you couldn’t walk two blocks without hearing a Spicoli impression or seeing his iconic checkered shoes. "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" had a slow start when it came to theaters, only earning $2.5M its opening weekend, but by the time it left theaters its earnings exceeded $27M.
One year before the movie’s release, Rolling Stone’s writer, Cameron Crowe went undercover as a high-schooler to write "Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story." Though it contained all the movie’s plot points, it wasn’t a great read. Thankfully, the charisma of future stars Judge Reinhold, Sean Penn, and Nicolas Cage was enough to turn the story into one of the most beloved high school movies of all time.