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Silly Comedies That End With An Emotional Gut Punch

List RulesVote up the lighthearted comedies that made you surprisingly emotional at the end.

The saddest moments in comedy movies are a reminder that films intended to make you laugh can make you cry, too. Especially when the movie ends with an emotional gut punch that elevates the film from a silly comedy to something a little deeper and more serious.

These comedies that make you cry start out with laughter, but by the end jump to the other extreme of the emotional spectrum with a heartbreaking finale. 

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  • Mrs. Doubtfire follows an actor, Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams), who comes up with a plan to disguise himself as a housekeeper named Mrs. Doubtfire in order to spend some time with his kids after a bitter divorce that left him without custody. Mrs. Doubtfire ends up staying full time and improving the lives of Miranda (Sally Field) and their three children before being exposed as Daniel by the end of the film.

    Most other family-comedy films would have Miranda recognize Daniel's Mrs. Doubtfire shtick as charming and welcome him back to the family, but Mrs. Doubtfire doesn't go the easy route. In the end, Miranda does let Daniel back into their lives, but only to see the kids semi-regularly, without supervised visits. It's not the expected happy ending, but it is more true to the lives of divorced families. Big obnoxious gestures won't reunite a family in real life, but learning to coexist is key, and that's exactly what they do. The film ends with a tear-jerker scene where Daniel accepts that he will have to play by Miranda's rules to have a happy relationship with his family, and a sentimental monologue on his new television show about the importance of family. 

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  • Big Daddy walked a thin line. The film could have been grossly offensive, but Adam Sandler found a way to keep the tone light. The film follows the antics of Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) as he impersonates his roommate Kevin Gerrity (Jon Stewart) in order to take care of Kevin's son Julian (Dylan and Cole Sprouse). The film ends with Sonny on trial for impersonating Kevin, but by that point, Julian and Sonny's bond is so heartwarming, you actually want to root for them to be together. 

    Of course, Kevin is granted custody of his son at the end of the film. It would be completely illogical for a court to allow Julian to be handed over to a man who spent the former half of the film committing identity fraud. After tearfully handing Julian back to Kevin, however, Sonny turns his life around. The final scene of the film takes place one year later at Sonny's surprise party, where Julian is excitedly waiting for him. It's a shame Sonny won't get the chance to raise Julian, but the fact that he's still in his life as a "wacky uncle" is emotionally gratifying. 

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  • The ending to Planes, Trains and Automobiles plays on the theme of "nobody should be alone for the holidays." The story follows Neal (Steve Martin) as he returns home in time for Thanksgiving with an unwanted travel companion, Del, played by the late John Candy. Although not the first of its kind, Planes, Trains and Automobiles set the stage for many unlikely buddy road-trip movies to come. 

    At the end of the film, Neal and Del exchange goodbyes at the train station after their long, tiresome journey. Neal, feeling a wave of relief wash over him, sits alone on the train and reflects on his time spent with Del. His flashbacks unlock a secret clue he's been missing all along: Del is alone. Overcome with sentimentality, Neal rushes back to find Del. The film ends with Del joining Neal and his family for Thanksgiving. Although a lot of the film is filled with silly antics, the ending turns out to be a real tear-jerker. 

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  • Tommy Boy comes off at first as another silly road-trip movie, but the film has an underlying emotional theme about fatherhood and expectations that drives the ending home. The movie revolves around Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley), who is on a quest to sell enough brake pads to save his recently deceased father's auto business, with the reluctant help of his father's apathetic assistant, Richard Hayden (David Spade). Like all good mission-based buddy movies, Tommy goes to hell and back, but he manages to save his father's company. 

    What makes the ending truly rewarding, however, is a touching, simple scene that puts the story into perspective. After finally succeeding at something, Tommy reflects alone in a boat as a way to feel closer to his father. He admits that he's just trying to live up to his father, and still loves and misses him a lot.

    Farley showed off his dramatic potential in this scene, proving he could do more than physical comedy. 

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