15 Comedies That Take Place Over the Course of 24 Hours
In the upcoming 'Walk of Shame,' comedienne Elizabeth Banks joins the ranks of stars who have led funny features that take place over the course of just one day, playing a news reporter who needs to overcome some wild circumstances to hit an important job interview after a crazy night out.
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
A buddy comedy with a healthy dose of illegal activities, 'Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle' follows a pair of pals, played by John Cho and Kal Penn, as they attempt to feed a serious catch of the munchies – it’s just too bad that their restaurant of choice is so treacherous to reach.
Adventures in Babysitting
Starring Elisabeth Shue in one of her most memorable roles, the film follows her titular adventures as a babysitter over the course of one crazy night in and around Chicago, all in pursuit of a missing station wagon.
Before Bruce Willis became a bonafide action star, he starred alongside Kim Basinger in this mostly-forgotten 1987 gem. Willis plays Walter, a workaholic in need of a suitable date for an extremely important work party, who seems to have found a solid match in Nadia (Basinger), his sister-in-law’s cousin. The only problem? Nadia goes wild when she drinks, and the alcohol flows quite freely over the course of one wild night.
Wet Hot American Summer
David Wain’s 2001 cult classic consistently plays with its own time constraints – although it’s set on the last day of summer camp, way too much actually happens to fit into a single day – and that knowing gag becomes part of its big fun. As a special bonus, the film also features some huge stars on the cusp of breaking out, including Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Bradley Cooper.
The Breakfast Club
One of John Hughes’ most famous stories of teen angst, this classic blend of high school drama and good-natured teen hijinks takes place over the course of less than twelve hours, but it’s amazing how much can go down in such a short amount of time.
It certainly seems as if the eighties were the heyday of 24-hour comedies, and beloved kid classic 'The Goonies' fits right into the mold. Sure, there’s also plenty of drama and action to be had – it comes with the territory when you’re going searching for treasure in a series of underground caves come – but the family-friendly film also has plenty of heart and laughs for all viewers.
In the beloved 1993 feature, Bill Murray finds himself trapped (seemingly endlessly) reliving the eponymous holiday over and over, allowing himself the opportunity to make things right, and to have a lot of unhinged fun in the meantime.
Dazed and Confused
Richard Linklater’s 1993 feature gave the world plenty of good things (including the first instance of Matthew McConaughey spouting “alright alright alright” on film), but it also gave us a consistently amusing example of covering a lot of good ground in one slim period.
Director Kevin Smith quite notoriously sold off his comic book collection to finance what would become his breakout feature. The black and white film clearly needed to keep costs low, and what’s better for making things on the cheap than giving them a limited time frame and setting them in a single location (in the case of 'Clerks,' it happened to be a video store he actually worked in at the time)?
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Another solid example of John Hughes’ love for keeping things tightly wound time-wise, the Matthew Broderick-starring perennial favorite follows the most popular guy in school as he embarks on an awesome day out and about in Chicago with his best gal and his best pal.
Stanley Kubrick’s pitch black comedy amusingly satirizes the nuclear fears of the sixties, centering its action on a B-52 bomber heavy with nuclear dread and the talking heads trying to make it stop.
F. Gary Gray’s debut film, a buddy comedy that stars Ice Cube and Chris Tucker as a pair of pals caught up in some big trouble during the course of one eponymous day, has already spawned a pair of sequels that also stick to the events of just one day. It was a good day three times over, and there’s still hope for a final film the series – appropriately titled 'Last Friday.'
Back to the Future
Much like 'Groundhog Day,' the true course of the first “Back to the Future” is hard to pin down – does it take place over just one day, or do we need to count the thirty years that Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) travel within it? – but if we’re sticking to the film’s beginning and end, it really does take place during just one day. It’s a big, science-busting, time-spanning day, perfectly-written day, but a single day nonetheless.
This often-forgotten 1980 comedy has a fun premise – five different teams, made up of various college students, compete over the course of one night in a wild scavenger hunt – and its plot ties in perfectly with a tight time frame.
Trapped overnight in a Target store, a pair of very different characters – a night janitor played by Frank Whalley and a wild child portrayed by Jennifer Connelly – encounters all sorts of wild and crazy times. They use the microwaves to make dinner! They try on all the clothes! They rollerblade! They…get held hostage by a pair of dimwitted robbers?