The Best Kate McKinnon Movies

Not live and in your house, it's Kate McKinnon!

Kate McKinnon had a relatively abrupt Saturday Night Live debut, having joined the cast very late into its 37th season in April 2012. However, her final curtain call at Studio 8H (around the same time fellow movie and TV star Pete Davidson left the cast, too) was anything but abrupt since the Emmy winner became one of the sketch comedy series’ most renowned and extremely popular talents, with an impressive number of notable big screen credits to show for it.

The voice of Ms. Frizzle in Netflix's reboot of The Magic School Bus and one of the biggest stars of the platform's The Bubble cast rarely plays the lead in any of her films but might as well have for how brilliantly she has managed to steal the show from her top-billed co-stars. Allow us to show why we believe our recommendations for the best Kate McKinnon movies truly deserve to be called “Kate McKinnon movies." 

By Jason Wiese

DC League Of Super-Pets (2022)

When Superman (John Krasinski) is suddenly kidnapped, his super-powered dog, Krypto (Dwayne Johnson), teams up with Batman's hound, Ace (Kevin Hart), and other enhanced animals from a rescue shelter to rescue the Man of Steel.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: For her first role in a superhero movie, Kate McKinnon starred in the DC League of Super-Pets voice cast as Lulu -- a hairless guinea pig and the central antagonist of this funny animated film for audiences who love both animals and comic books.

(Warner Bros.)
Family (2018)

A self-loathing, yet also narcissistic, workaholic (Orange is the New Black cast member Taylor Schilling) is given a much-needed crash course in forming an emotional bond when she is suddenly tasked with looking after her teenage niece (Bryn Vale) who dreams of becoming a Juggalo.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: Kate McKinnon appears in the small, but show-stealing, role as the next-door neighbor to Schilling's character in writer and director Laura Steinel's uproarious comedy, Family.

Sisters (2015)

Reunited by their parents’ request to help clean their childhood home before it goes on the market, a divorced nurse (Amy Poehler) and her older, but far less responsible, sibling (Tina Fey) seek to recapture their youth by throwing a wild party that quickly proves to be a bit more wild than they intended.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: While she was still something of a Saturday Night Live legend in-the-making, Kate McKinnon shared the screen with established SNL legends Fey and Poehler in one of the funniest party movies, Sisters, as one of the more scene-stealing guests at their house rager.

Rough Night (2017)

An engaged politician (Scarlett Johansson) reunites with her four best friends from college (Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoë Kravitz, and Ilana Glazer) to let loose for her bachelorette party getaway in Miami, until it suddenly takes a horrifying turn.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: McKinnon puts on an over-the-top Australian accent to steal the show from Johansson (a Marvel movies star and now wife of a fellow Saturday Night Live cast member) and the rest of the all-star cast of Rough Night -- another fun, female-driven comedy about recapturing one’s youth, but with a much darker twist.

Office Christmas Party (2016)

The manager of a tech company’s struggling Chicago branch (T.J. Miller), his chief technology officer (Jason Bateman), and the head of Research and Development (Olivia Munn) try to save their jobs by hosting an extreme “non-denominational holiday mixer” in hopes of striking a business deal with a sought-after client (Courtney B. Vance).

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: Kate McKinnon plays the, initially, least rowdy partier in, arguably, be the finest of her party movies, Office Christmas Party -- another star-studded romp that technically counts as a raunchy holiday movie, but is also not particularly tied down by holiday themes and is a good enough time to watch any time of year.

(Paramount Pictures)
Ghostbusters (2016)

A pair of disgraced paranormal researchers (Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy), an eccentric nuclear engineer (Kate McKinnon), and a passionate life-long New York City citizen (Leslie Jones) team up to protect Manhattan from evil apparitions terrorizing the city.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: McKinnon saved her most uproarious energy in 2016 to play Dr. Jillian “Holtz” Holtzmann (essentially her own version of Harold Ramis’ Dr. Egon Spengler) in director Paul Feig’s all-female remake of Ghostbusters, which may have been met with a polarizing reception, but not for the actor’s undeniably hilarious dedication to her role.

(Sony Pictures Releasing)
Masterminds (2016)

Hoping to win the heart of his co-worker (Kristen Wiig), a guard for an armored truck company (Zach Galifianakis) agrees to help pull off a huge bank robbery for her conniving lover (Owen Wilson), who ends up betraying him by hiring a bumbling hitman (Jason Sudeikis) to do away with him.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: Another time Kate McKinnon shared the screen with fellow SNL stars Wiig and Jones in 2016 was when she played Jandice, the inhumanly and unsettlingly calm wife of Galifianakis’ character, in Masterminds -- an irreverently comedic dramatization of one of the most profitable heists in U.S. history, from Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess.

The Angry Birds Movie (2016)

A community of flightless birds -- including the cynical Red (Jason Sudeikis), the super fast Chuck (Josh Gad), and the literally explosive Bomb (Danny McBride) -- are forced to band together and fight back against an organization of disgusting green pigs who arrive and threaten to take over their secluded, serene island home.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: Another time that Kate McKinnon shared the screen with Sudeikis in 2016 was when she leant her voice to play two different roles (Stella and Eva) in The Angry Birds Movie -- the epic, big screen adaptation of one of the most popular mobile gaming apps in history.

Ferdinand (2017)

After he is mistaken for a wild beast and forcibly brought to a camp for bullfighting training in Spain, an imposing, yet friendly and gentle, bull (John Cena) enlists the help of his new friends to help him escape and reunite with his human family.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: One of Kate McKinnon’s even funnier and more prominent voice acting roles was as a neurotic, elderly goat named Lupe, who befriends’ John Cena’s titular goat hero in Ferdinand -- a sweet, animated adaptation of writer Munro Leaf and illustrator Robert Lawson’s beloved children’s book, and one of the best movies by Blue Sky Studios.

The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

After she goes through a painful break-up with her boyfriend (Justin Theroux), who ended things with a text message, a woman (Mila Kunis) discovers that her ex was actually a secret agent, which leads her and her best friend (Kate McKinnon) to become embroiled in an international conspiracy and forces them to go on the run in Europe.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: One of McKinnon’s funniest and most prominent live-action movie roles was a character named Morgan Freeman, a free-spirit who is full of surprises, in The Spy Who Dumped Me -- a thrill-a-minute, laugh-a-minute hybrid of romantic comedies, buddy cop movies, and espionage thrillers directed by Booksmart co-writer Susanna Fogel.

Yesterday (2019)

A young, hopelessly struggling musician from England (Himesh Patel) finally achieves the success he has always dreamed of, but by peculiar means: he has suddenly woken up in an alternate reality in which The Beatles never became famous and begins passing off their groundbreaking hits as his own creations.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: Kate McKinnon gives, arguably, the funniest performance in Yesterday -- writer Richard Curtis and director Danny Boyle's inventive, musical fantasy dramedy -- as Ed Sheeran’s demanding, brutally honest manager, Debra Hammer, who makes Patel’s character, Jack, into a star.

Bombshell (2019)

After landing her dream job at Fox News, a young journalist (Margot Robbie) falls prey to Roger Ailes' (John Lithgow) sexual advances, inspiring her to join Megyn Kelly (nearly unrecognizable Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) in a plot to expose the CEO's toxicity.

Why it’s one of Kate McKinnon’s best movies: Kate McKinnon gives, easily, the funniest performance in the Bombshell cast as a composite character inspired by first-hand accounts of the events that inspired director Jay Roach’s otherwise disturbing, Oscar-winning dramatization of scandalous activity at the media outlet.


The best movies starring SNL favorite, Kate McKinnon.