A comedy movie is a film in which the main intent is to make the audience laugh. While comedy movies are typically lighthearted, they can also address darker themes. Some comedy subgenres include slapstick, black comedy and parody.
Slapstick movies are one of the oldest forms of comedic films, because they could be produced during the silent era. The humorist relies on physical movement and action, such as violence, horseplay and other sight gags. Prominent practitioners of slapstick include Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and The Three Stooges. While slapstick as a genre in itself is uncommon in contemporary comedy films, slapstick elements are frequently found in modern comedies, such as Jim Carey's Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.
Black comedy takes a comedic approach to otherwise pessimistic subjects, including death, warfare or illness. Examples of black comedy include Harold and Maude, which focuses on the relationship between an elderly widow and a suicidal teenager, and Dr. Strangelove, a humorous take on nuclear warfare.
Parody or farce is one of the broadest genres of comedy, and many modern films contain elements of it. Parody specifically indicates a movie that humorously imitates the conventions of another film or genre, such as Austin Powers, a parody of the James Bond films. Parody is closely related to farce, which also mocks conventions while simultaneously including absurd circumstances and unlikely characters. Films that blur the line between parody and farce include Anchorman and The 40 Year Old Virgin.