As a mystery and thriller fan, you’ve likely seen your fair share of heart-pounding films that get your adrenaline going. Dramatic mysteries and noir films can be enjoyable in their own right. But while we love high-stakes drama and suspense as much as the next person, sometimes we’re in the mood for some lighter fare! It's nice to have options that, while still suspenseful, are a little more lighthearted.
If you're in that sort of mood, we've got you covered. These movies blend comedy with intrigue, leaving the viewers as amused as they are baffled. Many of these "whodunnits" play on the familiar tropes sprinkled throughout their more serious counterparts within the genre.
These films—including a good mix of both classic and modern—strike the perfect balance between big laughs and zany plotlines, and enough crime and mystery elements to keep genre fans coming back for more. Queue these sunny flicks for your next movie night.
Follow the clues, and see if you can crack the case before the sleuths do—if you’re not too busy laughing, of course.
Classic Funny Mystery Movies to Stream Tonight
Blithe Spirit (1945)
While working on a new book about the occult, Charles Condomine (Rex Harrison) and his second wife, Ruth (Constance Cummings) host a seance in their home. They hire a local mystic and invite a couple of guests. It all seems to be in good fun—until Charles begins to hear the voice of his first wife, Elvira.
When Charles realizes he’s the only one who can hear her voice, he passes the occurrence off as a joke. However, Elvira soon begins to appear to Charles, and starts to wreak havoc on his and Ruth’s lives.
The Pink Panther (1963)
Skip the panned 2006 reboot starring Steve Martin and settle on the original 1963 film for your next movie night; after all, this is the version that was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.”
The first film in the franchise revolves around the eponymous Pink Panther, an enormous pink-tinged diamond with a tiny flaw resembling a leaping panther. When a jewel thief (David Niven) and his nephew (Robert Wagner) hatch a plot to steal the priceless gem from an exiled princess (Claudia Cardinale), Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers) intends to track them down, but the thieves always manage to stay one step ahead of him.
Murder by Death (1976)
When several detectives are “cordially invited to Dinner and a Murder,” how could they possibly pass up such a scintillating invitation? When they arrive for dinner, they learn one of them will be murdered before midnight and the remaining party will be trapped in the house until the sun rises.
If any of the detectives can work out who committed the gruesome act, they will receive sole rights to the story—and a million dollars. This star-studded comedy features Dame Maggie Smith, Peter Sellers, Truman Capote, and Sir Alec Guinness, among others.
The Cheap Detective (1978)
Playing on the well-known work of Noir star Humphrey Boggart, this satirical comedy is a blend of The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. Lou Pekinpaugh (Peter Falk) is forced to navigate the delicate line between the two worlds, outwitting both the police and the Nazis—all while trying to find a famed black bird.
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)
This film employs a fascinating technique to put its own unique spin on classic film noir. Clips from 19 black-and-white films are woven into the storyline, with the result that the vintage scenes take on new meaning. The idea came from Steve Martin, who plays a gumshoe hired to investigate the suspicious death of a well-known cheesemaker. With surprise appearances from Humphrey Bogart, Vincent Price, Joan Crawford, and more, this film will delight enthusiasts of Old Hollywood and pulpy detective fiction alike.
On a terribly rainy night in 1954, several seemingly unrelated guests are summoned to a remote mansion. These strangers are told to go by the names received on their invitations—Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet. The only other people in the mansion are the butler, Wadsworth, and a maid, Yvette. None of these strangers know why they’ve been summoned, or who by.
They await one more stranger—the man who holds the key to their summoning.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Though Who Framed Roger Rabbit is marketed as a children’s movie, it’s pure entertainment no matter your age—plus, an adult audience will have far more appreciation for its groundbreaking mix of live action and animation. The movie is set in a fictional 1940s Los Angeles, where humans and cartoon characters alike reside. When well-known “Toon” Roger Rabbit is accused of murder, human PI Eddie Valiant sets out to exonerate him.
This 1988 noir comedy film won four Academy Awards and was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress. It’s notable for both its technical accomplishments and its claim to fame as the only film in history where both Disney and Looney Tunes characters share the screen. Of course, this homage to the Golden Age of American animation also pays its dues to Hollywood: “Eddie is, in many ways, a loving parody of a classic film noir hero” (GQ).
Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
Co-written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman, Manhattan Murder Mystery began as an early draft of Annie Hall, but eventually took on a life of its own. Woody Allen and Diane Keaton play married couple Larry and Carol Lipton, who learn that their neighbor has died of a heart attack. Carol (Keaton) suspects the woman’s husband of foul play when he seems oddly unaffected by the death. Larry accuses Carol of snooping, but her prodding leads them on a wild goose chase all over Manhattan to uncover a mystery that becomes increasingly bizarre with each new twist.
The Mask (1994)
Jim Carrey plays a timid bank clerk who unwittingly becomes entangled with the mob in this madcap comedy film. Stanley Ipkiss (Carrey) discovers a mask that transforms him into his alter ego: a manic, green-faced, zoot-suited charlatan with cartoonish superpowers. The mask gives Stanley a newfound confidence, but when he inadvertently foils a bank robbery during one of his late-night capers through the city, he makes enemies with both a violent gangster and the local police force.
The Mask is emblematic of Carrey’s over-the-top comedic flair—plus, it made a star out of Cameron Diaz, a previously unknown actress who plays Stanley’s love interest. This flick isn’t a mystery in the strictest sense, but it has enough high-speed chases and noirish intrigue to appease mystery fans.
Modern Funny Mystery Movies on Streaming
Johnny English (2003)
This James Bond parody stars Rowan Atkinson as the eponymous Johnny English, an MI7 employee. Johnny has a desk job, but dreams of becoming a top spy for the agency. He finally gets a chance to prove himself when England’s Crown Jewels are stolen as part of a mysterious thief’s plot to depose Queen Elizabeth II. However, Johnny’s utter incompetence as a spy sets the stage for some amusing hijinks.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Loosely based on the Brett Halliday novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them, this spoof on the hard-boiled genre also pays homage to Raymond Chandler by naming sections of the film after Chandler’s books. Robert Downey Jr. plays Harry Lockhart, a burglar in New York City who accidentally stumbles into an acting audition while fleeing the police. The director believes Harry is a method actor and hires him on the spot to play a private investigator in an upcoming movie. Harry is flown to Los Angeles, where he stumbles into a murderous plot and must play detective once again, this time for real.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
PC Nicholas Angel is a good cop—so irritatingly good his superiors “promote” him to a quiet town. Angel must adjust to small-town life, a stark difference from his previously thriving career in bustling London. However, the sleepy town of Sanford has darker secrets than it would seem.
When two actors are found decapitated, it’s ruled an accident. When more bodies begin to turn up, Angel is determined to find the truth behind these so-called “accidents.”
Burn After Reading (2008)
This comedy film by the Coen brothers (The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men) borrows elements of espionage and international intrigue from classic spy mysteries, and introduces bumbling characters into the mix. The memoir of a resigned CIA analyst (John Malkovich) accidentally ends up in the hands of two dim-witted gym employees (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand). Mistakenly believing that they are in possession of sensitive government information, the troublemakers attempt to capitalize on their unique position by offering to sell the memoir to the Russian government. A series of misunderstandings, mistaken identities, and paranoia prompt increasingly absurd consequences for all who are involved. Other notable names in this star-studded film include George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Richard Jenkins.
Inherent Vice (2015)
Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is a pot-smoking private eye. He’s approached by his ex to investigate the whereabouts of her current (missing—and married) flame, Mickey Wolfmann. Doc steps on law enforcement's toes as he tries to solve the case. The clues to Mickey’s disappearance begin to fall into place and Doc crosses into some of the darker parts of the LA underground.
The Nice Guys (2016)
The 70s are closing out in this Los Angeles mystery. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) cross paths when a porn star is killed in a car crash. Jackson is hired as protection by a young woman; Holland is asked by the deceased porn star’s aunt to locate her—because she doesn’t really believe the young woman died in a car crash.
Healy and March are forced to team up when more members of the porn industry begin to turn up dead. It’s up to the two of them to solve the sinister plot at play.
A Simple Favor (2018)
When Mommy blogger Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) makes friends with a fellow mother in her child’s class, she can’t anticipate the ways in which the friendship will upend her life. Emily Nelson (Blake Lively) is the exact opposite of most of the quiet mothers in the traditional Connecticut community they live in. She’s blunt, vulgar, and works for a major fashion brand in New York City.
Stephanie and Emily become close friends, and when Emily asks Stephanie for “a simple favor”, she thinks nothing of it. That is, of course, until Emily suddenly goes missing—and Stephanie is swept up in trying to solve the mystery of the disappearance.
Ready or Not (2019)
A wedding is often one of the happiest days of someone’s life. And perhaps it would be for Grace (Samara Weaving), if it didn’t take such a deadly turn. After receiving a lukewarm welcome, Grace is informed that whenever a new family member is brought into the Le Domas family, it’s tradition to play a game. Grace is given a device that spits out a card, which reads Hide and Seek. In order for Grace to win, she has to remain hidden until dawn.
Grace truly believes this to all be a silly little game—until a maid is accidentally murdered in her place. Grace has to survive until dawn—while she has the entire Le Domas family hunting her down.
Murder Mystery (2019)
NYPD Officer Nick Spitz (Adam Sandler) is forced to make good on taking his wife on the honeymoon they never had. Audrey (Jennifer Aniston) is fed up with the fact that Nick is a cheapskate and upset they never do anything nice. Nick lies, telling Audrey he’s been planning a surprise trip for her. On their flight to Europe, Audrey meets the enigmatic Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans). He invites the Spitz’s to join him at an exclusive yacht party.
All seems to be going well—until Charles’ uncle is found dead. When an Inspector comes to question the guests, they all agree the strangest thing about the circumstances was the presence of Nick and Audrey.
Knives Out (2019)
After prolific crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead from an apparent suicide, renowned detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) arrives to investigate. It’s up to Blanc to sift through various lies that the Thrombeys have carefully plotted out, hoping to uphold their own image within the family.
Each of the Thrombeys seems to have a reasonable motive for wanting Harlan dead—but Blanc is determined to uncover the truth at the behest of an anonymous client.
The Lovebirds (2020)
A couple finds themselves in the absolute wrong place at the wrong time. Leilani (Issa Rae) and Jibran (Kumail Nanjiani) have been struggling with their relationship for some time—and this is the last thing they needed! On the way to a dinner party, the couple is carjacked—and they are forced to partake in the murder of a bike messenger.
Leilani and Jibran flee the scene, fearing they’ll be implicated in the murder, and take it upon themselves to solve the crime. The uncut version is particularly fantastic.
Game Night (2018)
We all have those friends who are just a little too into trivia night. Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are exactly that couple. Their usual game is night derailed when they take on an interactive mystery-solving game. They’re given fake FBI dossiers and are told that whoever solves the kidnapping found inside will win an expensive car.
Max and Annie attack the game with their usual enthusiasm—but when Annie shoots what she believes to be a prop gun and actually wounds Max, the couple realizes they’re embroiled in something far more serious.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Murder Mystery (2022)
The hotly-anticipated sequel to Knives Out, Glass Onion definitely hits the mark. Filled with the same zany humor and clever wit the franchise is known for, this film sees Detective Blanc on a case in Greece. A decidedly brighter location than the first film's gloomy England, Glass Onion satisfies fans while offering something entirely fresh—and thrillingly dangerous.