Over the last two decades, Amy Poehler has become one of Hollywood’s most successful comedy stars. Since first making a splash on “Saturday Night Live,” the Massachusetts native has built a solid resume on both small and large screens. From comedy classics like “Baby Mama” and “Mean Girls” to animated hits such as “Inside Out” and “Horton Hears A Who!,” Amy has shown she’s capable of tackling any genre. To top it off, there’s her Golden Globe-winning work as Leslie Knope on the NBC comedy series “Parks & Recreation.” Now the actress (and frequent Golden Globes host) is gearing up for the release of her latest directorial effort, the teen comedy “Moxie.” To celebrate the film’s Netflix release on March 3, join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at some of our favorite Amy Poehler films and TV shows you can stream…
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“Saturday Night Live” episodes
Amy joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 2001 after longtime friend Tina Fey had spent years trying to recruit her for the iconic sketch-comedy series. She was promoted from featured player to full cast member during her first season on the show and went on to be known for hilarious recurring characters including hyperactive 10-year-old Kaitlyn, one-legged reality show contestant Amber and “Bronx Beat” talk show co-host Betty Caruso. Amy’s numerous celebrity impressions also made for appointment television, such as Hillary Clinton, Kelly Ripa and Dakota Fanning. She eventually joined Tina on the “Weekend Update” desk until she left the series in 2008. Amy starred on 142 episodes throughout her seven seasons on the show, which served as the perfect launching pad for the comedic star.
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It’s near impossible to forget Amy’s scene-stealing turn in the teen comedy “Mean Girls.” The 2004 film follows one girl’s battle against the popular girls in the wild jungle that is high school. Although she isn’t one of the main stars of the noughties classic, Amy Poehler kept us so young with her portrayal of Regina George’s “cool mom” June. The film was written by Amy’s frequent collaborator Tina Fey and is jam-packed with lines that most millennials still quote to this day. “Mean Girls” likely wouldn’t have received as warm a reception if it hadn’t been for Amy’s works as the over-the-top, Juicy Couture velour tracksuit-clad and video camera-carrying cougar. You might tune in for the all-star cast that also includes Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams, but you’ll stay for the overly supportive mom who doesn’t resemble any parent you know in real life but secretly hope to be just like one day.
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“Parks and Recreation”
Alongside “Saturday Night Live,” Amy Poehler’s most well-known work to date is her seven-season run on the NBC workplace comedy series “Parks & Recreation.” The beloved show is a political satire about the inner workings of the Parks and Recreation Department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. It features a fantastic ensemble that includes Chris Pratt, Rashida Jones, Rob Lowe, Aubrey Plaza, Retta, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott and Jim O’Heir, but it’s Amy’s Leslie Knope who serves as the show’s heart. A perky, mid-level bureaucrat trying her hardest to make her hometown a better place, Leslie is the rare TV politician you can’t help but root for. Told over 125 episodes, the good-natured show has a refreshing amount of warmth, as exemplified by the 14 Emmy Award nominations it received during its run.
Amy Poehler scored her first lead film role in the 2008 comedy “Baby Mama.” She joined Tina Fey once again in the sweet tale of a successful, single businesswoman who dreams of having a baby and discovers she is infertile. She then hires a working-class woman to be her unlikely surrogate, and the odd couple fight and bicker until they realize how much they value their friendship. Amy and Tina have a ball playing off each other throughout the entire movie, and Amy shines as the less polished surrogate. The pair prove their chemistry translates just as well in features as it does on TV, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re surrounded by Greg Kinnear, Steve Martin and Sigourney Weaver. Considering the film debuted at No. 1 at the box office,it seems many people felt the same way.
Amy Poehler has lent her voice to an extensive list of animated films, but never has it shined brighter than in Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out.” The 2015 film is set in the mind of a young girl named Riley, where five personified emotions — Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust — try to lead her through life as she and her parents adjust to their new surroundings after moving from Minnesota to San Francisco. Amy’s talents turn the lead part of Joy into an irresistibly classic Disney character, and getting supporting help from incredible voice actors like Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling made the hit one of the most acclaimed Pixar films to date. It even went onto to win a best animated feature Oscar.
“Blades of Glory”
Amy Poehler shows some major athletic flair in the slapstick sports comedy “Blades of Glory.” Will Ferrell and “Napoleon Dynamite” breakout Jon Heder star as a mismatched pair of banned figure skaters who become teammates upon discovering a loophole that will allow them to compete in the sport again. But it’s Amy and ex-husband Will Arnett who steal the show as Fairchild and Stranz Van Waldenberg, the duo’s toughest competitors on the ice. The film’s ridiculous routines, flamboyant costumes and over-the-top humor make it a must-watch. It’s the sort of film where the cast appears to be having as much as the viewer. And who can resist the pure camp value of figure skating? “Blades of Glory” won over both critics and moviegoers in 2007, grossing more than $100 million in ticket sales and remaining atop the box office for multiple weeks.
“Wet Hot American Summer”
“Wet Hot American Summer” was largely a failure with both viewers and critics when it was released in 2001, but it’s since become one of the biggest cult hits of the last two decades. The bizarre film takes place during the last full day at a fictional summer camp in 1981 and spoofs the teen-focused sex comedies of that era. Amy Poehler shares her scenes with Bradley Cooper in his film debut as they play two overzealous drama instructors attempting to produce and choreograph the greatest talent show the camp has ever seen. The indie comedy, which includes breakout performances from Paul Rudd, Molly Shannon, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Meloni and Janeane Garofalo, developed such a passionate following that Netflix revived it for a prequel series in 2015 and a sequel series in 2017 with most of the original cast.
“Horton Hears a Who!”
Amy Poehler joined the world of Dr. Seuss with 2008’s “Horton Hears a Who!” The animated film tells the story of Horton the Elephant and his adventures saving Whoville, a tiny planet located on a small speck of dust, from the evil animals who mock him. Amy’s role as Sally O’Malley, the wife of Whoville’s mayor, isn’t huge, but everyone loves a bit of the Seuss, and “Horton” marks the first animated big-screen adaptation of his work. The feature received praise for staying true to the spirit of the original story and grossed a massive $298 million from audiences. Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Seth Rogen and Selena Gomez are among the talents who also lent their voice to the project, and anything with a roster that loaded is worth checking out.
Save this one for your next girls night in. “Wine Country” was not only Amy Poehler’s directorial debut, but it teamed her up with everyone’s favorite “Satural Night Live” alumni: Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer. The buddy comedy documents a group of longtime friends vacationing in Napa Valley as a birthday getaway. The drunken hijinks among this humorous all-star team are delightful, even if it doesn’t quite reach the same heights as the ladies’ previous work. It’s the group’s heartfelt bonding that makes the Netflix effort worth a viewing, and no one could have sold it like these winning women. It’s also a valiant start for Amy as a director, and hopefully leads to even greater things with 2021’s “Moxie.”
“We Came Together”
When it comes to rom-coms with a twist, no film handles it like the parody “We Came Together.” Amy Poehler stars alongside the loveable Paul Rudd as the owner of an independent candy shop who — surprise, surprise — begins an unlikely romance with the corporate stooge who’s been sent to shut her down. There’s nothing more charming than a romantic comedy parody that’s still inherently a rom-com itself. The chemistry between Amy and Paul is undeniable, despite the mixed reactions the film elicited from critics. The independent flick didn’t gain major traction in 2014 after only receiving a limited release, but it’s still worth the time for any fan of the two actors.
A little-seen film in Amy Poehler’s filmography is also one of the funniest. 2009’s “Spring Breakdown” stars Amy, fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Rachel Dratch and Parker Posey as a trio of socially awkward 30-something pals who head to a party town for college spring break to ditch their geeky personas and party with the cool kids. Despite not being the most inventive premise, it still inspires big laughs from its winning ensemble, which also includes Amber Tamblyn, Seth Meyers, Jane Lynch and even Kristin Cavallari. “Spring Breakdown” was shot three years before its eventual release and ended up going straight to DVD after premiering to less-than-stellar reviews at the Sundance Film Festival. That said, the silly feature is a great showcase for Amy’s skills as a comedian.
One of Amy Poehler’s more underrated animated efforts came with 2013’s “Free Birds.” She voices a wild turkey in the comedic tale of two fowl who travel back in time to 1621, just before the first Thanksgiving, to prevent all turkeys from ever becoming holiday dinners. Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and George Takei round out the cast, with the “Wedding Crashers” star playing Jenny’s domesticated turkey love interest. The clever concept didn’t carry much weight with critics, but the film became a surprise box office hit, grossing more than $100 million in worldwide ticket sales.
Amy Poehler reunited with Tina Fey for the 2015 comedy “Sisters.” The duo play family members for the first time, starring as sisters who decide to relive their glory days by throwing one last high-school-style house party before their parents sell their family home. While it doesn’t quite have the same magic of their previous collaborations, that familiar comedic bond between the pair is always immensely watchable. The film, which features an assortment of other “Saturday Night Live” veterans such as Maya Rudolph, Bobby Moynihan, Rachel Dratch and Kate McKinnon, went on to be a massive box office hit, bringing in more than $100 million. Despite the mixed reviews, “Sisters” solidifies Amy and Tina as one of the greatest female pairs in comedy.
“The House,” which marked Amy Poehler’s most recent starring role in a theatrical film, gave her the chance to reunite with fellow comedy powerhouse Will Ferrell. The 2017 comedy follows a couple who open an underground casino in their friend’s house in order to pay for their daughter’s college tuition. The film underperformed with both critics and at the box office, but you can’t ignore the comedic forces behind it. Amy and Will are joined by funny favorites such as Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, Allison Tolman, Rob Huebel, Michaela Watkins and even Jeremy Renner. Everything here is rather routine, but if you’re a fan of Will’s brand of humor, you know what to expect here and it’s a safe bet you won’t be disappointed.
“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked”
Amy Poehler really put her vocal talents to the test in the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” sequels “The Squeakquel” and “Chipwrecked.” She starred as Eleanor Miller, the youngest sister of The Chipettes. 2009’s “Squeakquel” sees Alvin, Simon and Theodore facing off against The Chipettes in a battle of the bands to save their school’s music program, while 2011’s “Chipwrecked” finds the crew fighting for survival after being marooned on a deserted island. While most are quick to dismiss the franchise, and critics weren’t exactly kind to the films, there’s no denying the impact they had on younger audiences, grossing over a billion dollars at the box office. It’s safe to say The Chipettes are the best part of the “Alvin” universe, so if you’re going to put on one of these films, skip right to the followups.
Shakespeare has never been this funny. Amy Poehler dazzled with a smaller role in the 2008 indie comedy “Hamlet 2.” The film follows a high school drama teacher whose musical version of “Hamlet” threatens to get him fired for featuring time travel and a visit from Jesus — that is, until his students band together on his behalf. The feature received great reviews upon its release. As a human right activist who supports the production, Amy proves she has a knack for choosing great projects, no matter the size of the part.
A “Parks and Recreation” reunion is the initial reason to tune in to the reality competition series “Making It,” as it’s hosted by Amy Poehler and Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman. But you’ll soon find yourself falling for the delightful contestants — all craftspeople skilled in different media — who are competing to be named the “Master Maker” and win $100,000. Competitors make two handmade projects in each episode, a “Faster Craft” and a “Master Craft,” with the winner of each challenge earning a patch. The NBC series premiered in 2018 and has been renewed for a third season. The entire process is so sweet and wholesome, you might just develop a toothache while watching in bewilderment at what the crafters are able to come up with.
“Shrek The Third”
Amy Poehler’s first voice work in a major motion picture came in 2007’s “Shrek The Third.” She voices fairy tale icon Snow White, who joins forces with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel to assist Shrek, Fiona and Donkey as they work to stop the evil Prince Charming from taking over their kingdom. The scenes featuring the classic princesses are the film’s biggest highlights and laid the groundwork for Amy’s fantastic run of voice work in the years since. While the third film in the “Shrek” franchise wasn’t as much of a critical hit as the previous entries, it still managed to rake in $813 million from theatergoers.
“Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo”
Amy Poehler made her film debut with a small scene-stealing part in the 1999 sex comedy “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.” She had the memorable role of Ruth, one of Deuce’s clients, in the hit film starring Rob Schneider as the hapless fish tank cleaner-turned-gigolo. What sets Ruth apart is that she has Tourette syndrome and can’t stop screaming obscenities while out on their date. The film hasn’t stood the test of time as well as her other features, but it did give viewers a sneak preview of Amy’s true comedic capabilities. Despite being maligned by critics, “Deuce Bigalow” was a big box office draw and even spawned a sequel, minus Amy.
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