Want to laugh while watching a Korean movie? We have a list of the best Korean comedies, so don’t worry. We’ve also added streaming links to make it easier for you to watch these comedies. In this list of the best Korean comedies, Cinema Escapist chose movies that are not only funny and entertaining but also have a lot to say.
Even more than comedies from other countries, Korean comedies tend to mix different types of movies into their plots. This doesn’t just mean rom-coms; it also means that Korea’s funniest movies often use humour to bring up important social, political, and historical issues.
Our list of the 10 best Korean comedy films includes both very new movies and classics that you can’t miss. They will make you laugh out loud and teach you more about Korean culture as a bonus.
Korean comedies have a pattern: they start out funny but end on a sadder note. That’s a good way to describe Secret, Greatly without giving away too much. Even though the film’s first laughs aren’t too loud, the plot is pretty funny: North Korea sends an elite spy to South Korea to live undercover as a village idiot named Dong-gu, who poops on the street and falls downstairs.
After Kim Jong-un dies, Dong-gu and two other undercover spies, a rock musician and a student, get caught up in a power struggle with violent results. There are other South Korean comedies that talk about North Korea besides Secretly Greatly. There have been other examples, like “North Korean Guys” from 2003, but “Secret Greatly” is the most up-to-date and popular one.
It’s a good way to figure out how ordinary South Koreans feel about North Koreans as “wayward brothers” who are still part of the same “Korean family.”
Extreme Job, which came out in 2019, is the best Korean comedy movie on our list. This movie was very popular in Korea and around the world. It made more than US$125 million at the box office. In fact, it has made more money than any other Korean comedy ever (so far).
Extreme Job is a mix of the buddy cop and action genres. It is about a group of clumsy police officers who open a fried chicken restaurant to hide an undercover operation against drugs. When the restaurant becomes popular out of the blue, the cops have a fun time trying to balance their cover story with their real mission.
Extreme Job is a very fun movie to watch because the actors get along well, the dialogue is funny, and the fight scenes are well-choreographed. It’s not surprising that the movie did so well at the box office. This movie can be watched on Amazon
In this romantic comedy, Jung Jae-young and Yoo Jun-sang play two middle-aged Korean men who go to Uzbekistan to find wives among the Korean people who live there. In their search for love, the two men and their matchmaker/translator Lara (Soo Ae) have to deal with funny cultural and language differences.
The Wedding Campaign shows two interesting things about Korean history and culture. First, there are about 500,000 Koreans of Korean descent living in countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union. At the end of the 1800s, when Korea’s economy was getting worse, many Koreans moved to the Russian Far East to find work.
But when Stalin took power, he moved 172,000 of these Koreans against their will to places like Uzbekistan in Central Asia. There are still 176,000 Koreans of Korean descent living in Uzbekistan. They have their own language and have created food traditions that are influenced by the Soviet Union.
Second, many rural Korean men can’t get local women to marry them, so they look for brides abroad. This brings up interesting questions about assimilation and is part of a divide between people who live in cities and those who live in the country that is also seen in movies like 2018’s Burning.
This movie is available on YouTube.
Sunny is one of the Korean comedies that focus on women the most. It’s a sweet look at the friendship and the past. A middle-aged woman named I’m Na-mi is at the centre of the movie. In high school, Na-mi was part of a group of six girls called “Sunny.” One day, Na-mi finds one of Sunny’s members in a hospital, dying of cancer. She decides to get Sunny back together again.
Sunny jumps back and forth between Sunny’s formation in the 1980s and Na-adolescence mi’s in the present day. It will resonate with anyone who wants to remember the happier parts of their youth. This is the kind of movie that can make you laugh, cry, and feel good inside.
If you want to learn more about modern Korean history, pay close attention to Sunny. The 1980s were a very important time for Korean democracy, and director Kang Hyeong-Cheol put in a lot of details about it. For example, Na-brother Mi is a student activist, and the Gwangju Uprising can be seen in the background of a few scenes in the movie.
This movie is available to watch on Amazon and Viki.
Before making Sunny, Kang Hyeong-Cheol made Scandal Makers, which was also a very popular comedy. Even though its name includes the word “scandal,” Scandal Makers is an easy movie to watch with your family or a significant other.
In Scandal Makers, My Sassy Girl star Cha Tae-Hyun plays a playboy DJ named Nam Hyeon-soo, who all of a sudden finds out that a single teenage mother (Park Bo-young, in her first big role) who calls into his show is his daughter. Nam, who liked being a bachelor, now has to deal with being both a father and a grandfather, which is funny.
As was already said, Scandal Makers doesn’t really have that much “scandal.” Instead, it’s a good-natured and funny look at what family, or not having one, means. This movie is available to watch on Amazon and Viki.
Miracle in Cell #7
Miracle in Cell #7 is another Korean comedy that makes you laugh and cry at the same time. The movie is about Lee Yong-gu, a man with a mental disability who is wrongly put in jail for killing and raping the daughter of a police commissioner.
Lee is picked on at first, but because he is honest and acts like a child, he eventually wins the respect of his cellmates and the prison warden. Lee’s cellmates end up helping him sneak in his daughter Ye-sung on a regular basis. The movie gets even funnier because of how old Ye-sung is for her age.
Miracle in Cell #7 is one of the most honest and moving Korean movies, and I don’t want to give away too much. A big warning, though: have tissues ready to wipe away the tears you’ll shed from laughing and crying too much. This movie can be watched on Amazon
The Last Bang of the President
The President’s Last Bang is a great choice if you like funny political stories. This great movie is not only a lot of fun, but it also shows that South Korea is getting over its dictatorial past.
In short, The President’s Last Bang is a play about how South Korean President Park Chung-hee was killed in 1979. Even though he helped South Korea’s economy grow, Park ruled with an iron fist, leaving behind a complicated legacy that still pits conservatives against liberals.
The President’s Last Bang made a lot of noise when it came out because it was about such a controversial person. Park’s only son sued the people who made the movie. Even though he couldn’t stop the movie from being shown, he did get the production company to pay him US$105,000.
It’s clear why Park’s son wanted to file a lawsuit. In The President’s Last Bang, Park Chung-hee and his allies are portrayed as stupid, pro-Japanese, womanizing drunks who don’t care about the people of Korea. The film’s already powerful message is made even stronger by the great acting and the interesting way it tells its story.
Read our full review of The President’s Last Bang to find out more about the movie! This movie can be watched on Amazon
I Can Speak
I Can Speak is another comedy that focuses a lot on Korean women and uses the genre to bring attention to the continuing plight of comfort women (sex slaves to the Japanese military during World War II).
The movie begins on a happy note. A young government worker named Kim Min-Jae gets a new job taking care of complaints from the public. There, he meets “Goblin Granny,” an old woman named Na Ok-bun who is known for complaining loudly and often about small things.
Through a series of funny events, “Goblin Granny” ends up being taught English by Kim. But when he asks her why she wants to learn English, he finds out that it’s because she has to talk to the US Congress about her experiences as a “comfort woman” during World War II.
I Can Speak does a great job of making a very sensitive historical topic less embarrassing and helping people learn about it. Even though it’s a comedy, the movie shows a lot of respect for the subject.
In I Can Speak, humour and character drama are used to remind viewers that former “comfort women” are whole people with complicated lives who deserve to be treated with compassion and understanding. The end result is a movie that is both moving and educational.
I Can Speak also hints at the complicated relationship between South Korea, Japan, and the United States in the modern world. Na Ok-bun wanted to testify before the US Congress because of how House Resolution 121 was passed in 2007. In that resolution, the US House of Representatives asked Japan to apologize for how it treated comfort women.
South Korea and Japan did come to an apology agreement in 2015, but the fact that I Can Speak came out in 2017 and did well shows that many Koreans don’t think it goes far enough.
This movie can’t be streamed anywhere just yet. When it is, we’ll make a change to this article.
One of South Korea’s best comedies, Miss Granny, stars Na Moon-hee of I Can Speak and Shim Eun-Kyung in Sunny.
The main character in Miss Granny is an old woman named Oh Mal-soon (Na Moon-hee). Oh, who is strong-willed but mostly alone, goes into a photo studio one day to take a picture of herself. In the process, she turns into her 20-year-old self by magic (Shim Eun-Kyung).
Oh decides to change her name to Oh Doo-RI, which is the name of her childhood idol, Audrey Hepburn. She then follows her passion for music and runs into her grandson, who didn’t know she was there.
Miss Granny is good for the whole family and helps people enjoy the good things in life. It also shows how important family is and how important it is to live in the moment. Miss Granny was so popular because it had funny songs and easy-to-understand jokes. It even led to remakes in the Philippines and India.
This movie can be watched on Amazon
Barking Dogs Never Bite
Bong Joon-ho, a famous Korean director, made a dark comedy called Barking Dogs Never Bite before he made Snowpiercer, The Host, and Memories of Murder.
Barking Dogs Never Bite is more unusual than the other movies on this list. It’s about an unemployed professor (played by Lee Sung-Jae) who gets fed up with dogs that bark all the time and tries to kill them. In the meantime, a maintenance worker (Bae Doona, in one of her earliest roles) smells what he’s doing and tries to stop him from killing the dogs.
If you care a lot about animal rights, this movie is obviously not for you. But the killing of dogs as a plot device isn’t as brutal as you might think. Instead, it’s used as a memorable way to show that we live in a “dog eat dog” world. A lot of the comedy in the movie comes from showing how hard it is for the characters to get what they want in life, which is sometimes funny and sometimes hard.
Barking Dogs Never Bite is one of the most real, refreshing, and thought-provoking Korean comedy movies because it has great cinematography, great acting, and very funny jokes.
This movie can be watched on Amazon
Welcome to Dongmakgol
Welcome to Dongmakgol the first movie on our list of the best Korean comedies. The movie tells one of the most interesting and fun stories in Korean cinema by using humour and history. The story of Welcome to Dongmakgol takes place in a made-up town called Dongmakgol during the Korean War.
The interesting thing about this village is that no one there knows that the Korean War is going on. But that innocence is put at risk when troops from both North and South Korea and a single American pilot get stuck there. What happens next is a hilarious commentary on how silly war and “us against them” thinking are.
The villagers think it’s crazy that all these people from outside the village want to kill each other, and they make fun of the soldiers’ aggressiveness. At the end of the movie, all of the characters come together for a good cause, which takes the story in a beautiful and hopeful direction.
Funny, heartwarming, and important to history, Welcome to Dongmakgol is the best Korean comedy we’ve seen. This movie is available to stream on Amazon and YouTube.
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