Laughing your way through late winter and early spring releases

While the holiday movie rush has dissipated, there are several enticing genre pictures from “John Carter” to “The Raid” on the horizon – yet the next few weeks of film seem to rely heavily onlaughs.

The Oracle takes a look at the impressive crop of comedies making their way to theaters, hoping to quell your chatteringteeth with a dose of laughter.


Feb. 24

While fans of raunchy, offbeat comedy will have to wait another two months to see the “American Pie” gang in April’s “American Reunion,” there’s no reason not to join in the nuttiness of the upcoming Paul Rudd- and Jennifer Aniston-starring “Wanderlust.”

From the minds that brought us “Role Models,” “Wanderlust” follows a recently unemployed couple (Rudd and Aniston) who decide to experiment with their lives by joining a rural commune where togetherness and free love is encouraged. The typically straight-laced pair deals with the trouble of this new lifestyle; all while Aniston begins to fall for the commune leader.

Featuring an assortment of go-to comedians like Rudd, AlanAlda and Ken Marino – as well as the “Stella” trio of David Wain, Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black – “Wanderlust” should suffice for anyone yearning for a good laugh.

“Project X”

March 2

At this point, “The Hangover” and “Old School” director Todd Phillips knows how to throw a party on film, that’s why his upcoming executive produced found-footage comedy “Project X” should help usher in a new era of party theatrics for the format.

Directed by Nima Nourizadeh, who has directed visually stunning music videos for acts like Hot Chip and Lily Allen, makes his feature debut with what looks to be an uproarious “Bachelor Party” meets “Superbad.” It’s your typical plotline of an isolated youth’s parents leaving him home alone for the weekend and he decides to throw an unforgettable party.

By the look of the film’s trailer, things seem to get incredibly out of hand with teens leaping from rooftops and a SWAT team descending upon the house with flamethrowers. Brought to you by “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” scribe Michael Bacall, “Project X” looks to be a memorable dose of anarchy to kick off the spring.

“Friends with Kids”

March 9

For those looking to avoid the machismo action of “John Carter” or the potentially absurd Eddie Murphy comedy “A Thousand Words” on March 9, a reunion of sorts of the “Bridesmaids” cast might provide a better option.

“Kissing Jessica Stein” writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt stars alongside “Bridesmaids” alumna Kristen Wiig, John Hamm and Maya Rudolph in this adult-oriented comedy about two best friends trying to remain platonic after deciding to have a child together.

Joined by “Parks and Recreation” star Adam Scott and “Transformers” bombshell Megan Fox, the film looks to be a potentially wry blend of humor and drama as it chronicles the unorthodox relationship of Scott and Westfeldt’s characters.

“21 Jump Street”

March 16

While the idea of remaking the popular early-’90s television show “21 Jump Street” may sound like a recipe for disaster, the ingredients may suggest otherwise.

With “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” team Phil Lord and Chris Miller in the director’s chair and Bacall also at work here, this story of two undercover agents infiltrating a high school drug ring may be a lot more imaginative than many are expecting.

Starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as the undercover crew, along with Ice Cube as the undercover program’s leader, there’s a good chance that, much like “Cloudy,” this could be a welcome surprise.

“Casa di mi Padre”

March 16

“Saturday Night Live” writer Matt Piedmont makes his feature debut along with an impressive ensemble of actors including Will Ferrell and longtime collaborators Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna for this tale of a man (Ferrell) trying to save his father’s ranch from the hands of Mexico’s fiercest drug lord.

Looking like a cross between “El Mariachi” and “Scarface,” only with a bit of hilarity in the mix, this looks to be a much needed step away from Ferrell’s one-note performances as arrogant icons like Ricky Bobby in “Talladega Nights” that have worn out their welcome as of late.

The film was shot in Spanish, and despite Ferrell’s presence, looks to be a film ready to play in the foreign film markets. This may be off-putting for some audiences, but for those looking to travel off well-worn comedic paths, it could be a treat.

“Jeff Who Lives at Home”

March 16

The writing-directing team of brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, who have famously given us such independent gems as “Baghead” and “The Puffy Chair,” delivered on their first step into more mainstream fare with 2010’s “Cyrus.” They look to further their formula of telling intimate stories on a bigger canvas with this March’s “Jeff Who Lives At Home.”

Featuring Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon, “Jeff Who Lives At Home” is the tale of Jeff (Segel) breaking away from the confines of his safe life in his mother’s basement, all while aiding his brother (Helms) in his effort to track down his potentially adulterous wife.

The trailer offered a promising feature that’s well within the Duplass Brothers’ wheelhouse, while Helms and Segel each look to be stepping out of their comfort zones as funnyman to deliver a coming-of-age drama that still packs the laughs.