American Reunion landed in theaters April 6 and proved that the comedy sequel can succeed, despite the huge odds against it. The film banked over $21 million, coming in second to the juggernaut that is The Hunger Games. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve also gotten news of a few comedy classics attempting the sequel game including Anchorman 2, Dumb and Dumber 2 and the Twins sequel, called Triplets. Considering how difficult it is to achieve a success with a comedy sequel, there’s a lot of ground to cover to uncover the top 10 comedy sequels that work.
10. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Mike Myers found that being Austin Powers is not carte blanche to having comedy success -- witness Goldmember for that! Yet, in The Spy Who Shagged Me, he managed to have his character lose his mojo and find a comedy gem.
9. Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
Taking a page from the Terminator movies, Bill and Ted followed up their 1989 comedy hit by having robot versions of themselves sent back in time to prevent their band from composing the song that will bring world peace. Simply putting Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves back into those iconic roles is not enough for a sequel to work (look how long it’s taken for Bill and Ted 3), but the addition of a sci-fi element, coupled with the Grim Reaper (a hilarious William Sadler) and we have a winner.
8. Next Friday
Ice Cube proved his foray into comedy in Friday was anything but a fluke. And the star did what anyone would do when tackling a sequel of any genre: He upped the ante. In Next Friday, Cube took the mayhem of the first film and took it out of the city to the palatial suburbs of Rancho Cucamonga. Yes, hilarity did ensue.
7. European Vacation
Holiday Road goes across the pond and Chevy Chase and his Griswold clan score major hilarity on the European continent. After winning the game show A Pig in a Poke, the clan takes off for a tour of England, France and beyond. Example of how well this sequel works is on display when Clark (Chase) is talking to Rusty (Jason Lively) atop the Eiffel Tower about that hideous beret. You remember what happens next, don’t you?
6. The Hangover Part 2
Sure, it’s the same formula as The Hangover, with Bangkok standing in for Las Vegas, but with those three leads -- Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms -- we’d follow them anywhere. The Hangover Part 2 is the definition of a comedy sequel success as the film’s box office far eclipsed the first film.
5. Beverly Hills Cop 2
Eddie Murphy came back to California and found the type of comedy sequel success that escaped him in Another 48 Hours. By this time, Murphy’s Alex Foley and his Beverly Hills Police Department friends are established as old friends and that comfort level proves to be fertile ground for the comedy mayhem the second time around.
4. The Great Muppet Caper
How do you top the first Muppet movie? Why don’t you make it a mystery that sparkles with comedy, and Kermit and company have another winner.
3. Pink Panther: A Shot in the Dark
Peter Sellers could read the alphabet as Inspector Clouseau and we’d be on board. But, there was something special about this second film in the Pink Panther series that charmed immensely. Watching it again, you realize how much we miss Sellers and his immense talent.
2. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Harold and Kumar creating a comedy sequel with political overtones? You bet, and that is largely why Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is priceless. The scene where Neil Patrick Harris gets shot is worth the price of admission alone.
1. Toy Story 2
The sequel to Toy Story contained all the elements that made the first an instant classic. It is heartwarming, and above all else: It is side-splittingly funny. With a cast that includes Tim Allen, Tom Hanks, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, John Ratzenberger, Wayne Knight, Laurie Metcalf and Estelle Harris, that’s a whole lot of comedy pedigree making magic in a comedy sequel that is the best of the best.