It's pretty rare to find a comedy sequel that actually lives up to the original. It's hard enough for most studios to deliver a good comedy once, much less replicate the formula for a sequel. But these sequels prove that it can be done.
'A Shot in the Dark' (1964)
The fact that the second Pink Panther" movie is such a strong follow-up to the first is all the more impressive when you consider A) it hit theaters barely three months later in the US, and B) it wasn't originally intended to be a sequel at all. But many regard this sequel as the best in the series. It's certainly one that makes full use of Peter Sellers' amazing physical comedy skills.
'The Muppets Take Manhattan' (1984)
Sequels don't always need to drastically reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it's simply enough to revisit a winning formula. "The Muppets Take Manhattan" remains one of the best sequels in this long-running franchise precisely for that reason. The catchy songs, feel-good story and slapstick puppet humor just make fora satisfying comedy experience.
'Ghostbusters II' (1989)
Most of the criticisms leveled at "Ghostbusters II" boil down to it not being as good as the original. That may be true, but it's pretty hard to measure up to the best supernatural comedy ever made. This sequel still offers plenty of laughs and iconic movie moments, as well as a few genuinely effective scares for good measure.
'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' (1989)
Writer John Hughes developed a real knack for blending comedy and heartwarming stories of holiday bonding. That not only gave us holiday classics like "Home Alone," but it also helped put the "National Lampoon's Vacation" series back on track following the thoroughly underwhelming "European Vacation." This sequel delivers plenty of Christmas hijinks and more Cousin Eddie to boot.
'Gremlins 2: The New Batch' (1990)
"Gremlins 2" is a much goofier follow-up to the surprisingly dark original, a fact that seemed to polarize audiences and critics at the time. Over time, it's developed a reputation as one of those "so dumb it's brilliant" comedies. It helps that the film is so gleeful about lampooning the very idea of a comedy sequel, breaking the fourth wall along with everything else these mischievous creatures can get their hands on.
'Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey' (1991)
It's easy to picture a "Bill & Ted" sequel simply recycling the plot of the first and sending the two dudes on another bodacious trip through time. Instead, it shifted things in a much different (and more bizarre) direction by pitting them against Death and their own robotic duplicates. It's a risk that paid off.
'The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear' (1991)
If not the greatest comedy spoof the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker trio has ever given us, "Naked Gun 2 1/2" is still a wacky good time. This sequel serves as a hilarious send-up of the action movie genre, along with a few less predictable cinematic targets like "Ghost."
'Addams Family Values' (1993)
Not only is "Addams Family Values" a worthwhile comedy sequel, it's one of the very few to actually surpass the original. 1991's "The Addams Family" serves as a clever update to the classic sitcom. This sequel, however, is less concerned about paying homage to the source material and instead ventures in a far darker and kookier direction.
'Hot Shots! Part Deux' (1993)
Between "The Naked Gun" and "Hot Shots!", the early '90s were a golden age for goofy action movie spoofs. This particular sequel focuses much of its attention on the "Rambo" series, with a buffed-up Charlie Sheen making for a surprisingly capable action hero. We also have to applaud any movie that takes its "Apocalypse Now" spoofing so seriously that it even spawns a mockumentary that makes fun of "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse."
'A Very Brady Sequel' (1996)
"The Brady Bunch Movie" succeeded because it didn't simply reboot the classic sitcom, but transplanted these '70s-era relics into the modern day and explored the ensuing culture clash. This sequel didn't do much to shake up that formula, but it did prove there was still plenty of gas in the tank. The pitch-perfect casting will have you believing the original "Brady Bunch" cast simply walked out of the TV set and onto the big screen.
'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" (1999)
Given the downward spiral the James Bond franchise was experiencing in the late '90s, it's a good thing we had the Bond-spoofing Austin Powers movies to fall back upon. This sequel flipped the script by dragging Austin and his nemesis Dr. Evil back to the '60s and introducing new players like Heather Graham's Felicity Shagwell. This is really Mike Meyers' show, however, with the comedian pulling triple duty as Austin, Dr. Evil and the morbidly obese Fat Bastard.
'Shrek 2' (2004)
The "Shrek" franchise would eventually overstay its welcome, but this first sequel is a rip-roaring good time. Like the first, it's both hilarious and very clever in the ways it pokes fun at various classic fairy tales. Antonio Banderas' Puss-in-Boots also proves a worthy addition to the main cast.
'Clerks 2' (2006)
The "Clerks" series isn't unlike Richard Linklater's "Before" trilogy, in that each movie visits the same cast of characters on a single, formative day in their lives. "Clerks 2" is even funnier than its predecessor, but it's also a very heartfelt look at two aging slackers trying to hold onto a slowly unraveling friendship. We can only hope "Clerks 3" eventually sees the light of day.
'Men in Black 3' (2012)
While "Men in Black II" is your textbook lackluster sequel, the series regained some of that lost momentum in its third outing. The addition of time travel helped shake up a now-familiar formula. It also helped that this sequel has the benefit of Josh Brolin's uncanny imitation of a young Tommy Lee Jones.
'22 Jump Street' (2014)
The only thing more amazing than the fact that "21 Jump Street" turned out to be such a clever, witty overhaul of the original TV series is that the sequel is equally hilarious. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill make for a terrific buddy cop duo, and having the ultra-talented Phil Lord and Chris Miller behind the camera never hurts. This is another of those rare cases where the sequel may actually be better than its predecessor.