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The December comedy movies everyone should see

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The month of December is usually a very somber and dramatic one at the box office, and with good reason. In order to keep their award-worthy films fresh in the minds of Oscar voters, studio executives usually wait until December to release them. This means the month usually full of goodwill and tidings of joy due to the holiday is full of drama and occasionally darkness at movie theaters. Traditionally, studios haven't released very many comedies or action films in December, though that is beginning to change. There has been a trend of studios releasing a few lighter films as a sort of counter programming to all the dramas. This December, there are five new comedies, but only one can be the absolute must-see comedy of the month.

The first funny film is "Wrong Cops" from writer/director Quentin Dupieux, which is funny mostly because it doesn't seem to follow a real script. It's about a group of cops who basically disobey every law, instead choosing to deal drugs and not investigate crime scenes they are assigned to. When one of them accidentally kills a man, they have to work together to cover it up before they all end up in jail. A lot of dark comedy ensues as the movie comes to its surprising conclusion.

Next up is "Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas," in which writer/director Perry takes his wise matriarch out to the country and lets her interact with rural folk. She is coaxed out by a close friend who wishes to visit her daughter but needs Madea's help to do it. Once the two friends arrive in the new town, Madea quickly realizes it is a dysfunctional place trying to mask all its secrets while still celebrating Christmas. This leads to several situations where Madea dishes out her trademark advice in hilarious fashion.

The third of December's comedies is "A Journey to Planet Sanity," which is filmed in a documentary style and is unintentionally funny in many spots. It follows writer/director Blake Freeman, who takes his elderly neighbor on a journey to prove to him that psychics, people who claim to have seen UFOs, and those who believe in the strange and unknown are all just scam artists. In doing so, they run into a cadre of wacky and weird people, which is where most of the funny bits comes from.

"White Reindeer" starts off as a drama when Suzanne Barrington (Anna Margaret Hollyman) comes home one night to find her husband dead, the victim of a home invasion. She wallows in her sorrow, especially since this is the first Christmas she is going to celebrate as a widow. As the film progresses and she tries to snap out of her funk, the film becomes funnier and more heartfelt rather than the tragedy it could have become.

Finally, there is "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," the long-awaited sequel to the original "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy." The entire original cast is back, and all of them seem to sink effortlessly bank into their roles, despite the fact that it has been nearly a decade since the original film was released. Due to the familiarity of the characters and a well-written script from stars Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, this film gets the nod as the absolute must-see comedy of December 2013.

The film picks up several years after the original, which was set in the 1970s. Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) is trying to assimilate to his new life but isn't doing a very good job. Since the last film, he has married his onetime rival Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) and had a young son with her. Unfortunately, he lost his anchorman job and now spends his days as an amusement park announcer, watching in self-pity as Veronica's career skyrockets. He seems to be going into a downward spiral, and his marriage and professional life are crumbling as a result. Then one day, he gets the opportunity of a lifetime—a new company wants to start the first-ever 24-hour news network, and the owners want Ron and his old team to do the graveyard shift.

Since most of the old team, including Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), and Champ Kind (David Koechner) have fallen on equally hard times, they all agree to the new gig. They love the new job so much they decide they want to get upgraded from overnight to prime time, where smarmy Jack Lime (James Marsden) rules. The group's quest to get promoted causes all kinds of funny situations, many of which have one-liners that are as much fun as the very quotable first film. Then there are the celebrity cameos, which are reason enough to make "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" the only comedy anyone needs to see in December.


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