14 Movies Held Back By Bad Comic Relief Characters

List Rules
Vote up the comic relief characters who keep these movies from reaching their full potential.

Writing good comedy is about the hardest thing you can do as a screenwriter. Just look at the worst comic relief characters to come out of Hollywood in recent years as an example of this. If shoehorning great comedic characters into your blockbusters was easy, everyone would be able to pull it off. Instead, we've gotten characters like Skids and Mudflap in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace. And those are just the weirdly racist ones from high-profile movies!

Throw in others like Rhino from Bolt, Fergie in Judge Dredd, and Kingo in Eternals and you've really got something to write home about. Some of the movies below may not have been great in the first place, but they ultimately ended up being somewhat ruined by these characters.


  • We'll be the first people to admit it: The Phantom Menace isn't the best Star Wars movie around. If you take it for what it is, though, you can have a lot of fun. It's got the John Williams score. It's got the podracing sequence. It's got the Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul lightsaber fight! The Phantom Menace certainly isn't perfect, but it absolutely has more going for it than other Star Wars media... like Attack of the Clones, for instance.

    One aspect of The Phantom Menace that pretty much everyone and their mother reviles is Jar Jar Binks. Unlike C-3PO and R2-D2 from the original trilogy, Jar Jar's specific brand of comedic relief falls completely flat. Unless you're under the age of 8, chances are you're not going to laugh at anything this particular Gungan says or does. Yes, in case you'd forgotten, he does step in a pile of dung at one point. Thank you for reaching the heights of hilarity, George Lucas.

  • The Transformers franchise has made a lot of missteps since the first film in the series hit theaters back in 2007. 2018's Bumblebee seems to have righted the ship, garnering the best reviews the movies have ever seen, but we'll see if future installments can keep that going. For about a decade, though, things were pretty dire. And 2009's Revenge of the Fallen has, arguably, the two worst characters ever to appear in the series: Skids and Mudflap.

    These two Autobots, who turn into the very mid-'00s Chevrolet Trax and Chevrolet Beat, were derided upon the film's release for being little more than racist caricatures. They weren't funny, they didn't add anything to the series, and they were promptly forgotten about when further sequels were developed. It's astonishing they made it into Revenge of the Fallen in the first place.

    Available On:

    subscription

    free

  • So, 1995's Judge Dredd is kind of a trainwreck. Still, there is something beautiful about a campy action flick that goes 100% with its commitment to being completely insane. And there are far worse ways to spend a couple of hours than watching actors like Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante, Diane Lane, and Max von Sydow play to the cheap seats. Not every movie has to be a work of high art, after all.

    If there is something about Judge Dredd that feels more mid-'90s than anything else, it is the inclusion of Rob Schneider as Fergie. Schneider was hot off the heels of his stint on Saturday Night Live and was just making the transition to Hollywood that would see him star in illustrious films like Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and The Hot Chick. Did Judge Dredd need comic relief? Not really. It's ludicrous enough on its own.

    Available On:

    subscription

  • Look, 2021's Godzilla vs. Kong may not be a paragon of cinematic glory, but it did give pretty much every kaiju fan out there what they wanted: Godzilla and King Kong fighting it out on the big screen. It's not Shakespeare... but it is awesome. Millions upon millions of people tune in each year to watch people compete in staged fights on Wrestlemania... did you think Godzilla vs. Kong was going to be anything but a success if they got the fights done right? 

    And as much as we all love Brian Tyree Henry off the back of AtlantaWidows, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (among many other projects), his conspiracy theorist, Bernie, is by far the weakest link in Godzilla vs. Kong. In a movie filled with too many human characters as it is, Bernie is just filling up space and doing a lackluster job of it at best. We. Want. Monsters. The human drama surrounding everything is never why anyone goes to see a Godzilla or Kong movie.

    Available On:

    subscription

  • Sixteen Candles, all these decades later, remains a quintessential teen comedy. That much is inarguable. It was written and directed by film legend John Hughes. It features '80s icons like Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. It's got a killer soundtrack. There are just so many different things going for it.

    One aspect that is rightly often derided, however, is the inclusion of Long Duk Dong. Cringey at best and outwardly racist at worst, Long Duk Dong is a foreign exchange student who is about as culturally sensitive as you'd expect a character from 1984 to be. The guy hits just about every stereotype and then some.

    Available On:

    subscription

  • Cloverfield is a found-footage thriller of the highest order. It's up there with The Blair Witch ProjectParanormal ActivitySearchingChronicle, and End of Watch as the cream of the crop in the filmmaking subgenre. Against all odds, Cloverfield also kicked off a multimedia franchise that is still going strong over 10 years after its theatrical release.

    The one major flaw the original film has is that the man carrying the camera, Hudson, also serves as comic relief. Not that a monster-based thriller needs comic relief in the first place, but if you're going to put it in there, don't have it be the guy responsible for the perspective of the entire thing. Ideally, you'd like the person behind the camera to feel like an extension of the audience, but in this case, Hud feels kind of like a guy you wouldn't want to hang out with? 

    Available On:

    subscription

    free