A lot of comedy sequels fall short of their predecessors, but there are plenty that hold a candle to—or even improve upon—the first film. For the risks, just look at the Hangover 3. They tried to go the route of copying a lot of the beats from their first movie, but it fell flat and mostly disappointed audiences. However, these movies went the other way and strengthened their franchises, by adding new wrinkles and characters, while placing fan favorite protagonists in new situations.
Thanks to big budgets and solid casts, here are ten underrated comedy sequels that will keep viewers laughing from start to finish.
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10 Ghostbusters II
Ivan Reitman’s second Ghostbusters film reunites the charming cast of the original, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson, who are funny as ever in this comedy/sci-fi sequel. In Ghostbusters II, the crew revives the ghostbusting business in order to combat the newest supernatural threat to New York City. To the cast’s credit, the laugh-out-loud humor is just as present as it was in the original, making this 80s flick worth re-watching.
9 Wayne’s World 2
Less than two years after the original, Wayne’s World 2 debuted to much less box office profit than the first movie but kept up its catchphrases and pop culture references. Fans found it just as enjoyable as the first installment, but some critics slammed the film’s hit-or-miss jokes. However, Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, saying the main characters are “impossible to dislike” and credited their vocabulary as their biggest charm. Schwing!
8 American Wedding
American Wedding brings the gang back together to witness the holy matrimony of high school sweethearts Jim and Michelle. Though some critics disliked the film’s gross-out humor, fans of the series were not disappointed in another installment of the franchise that brilliantly balances raunchy humor and heartfelt, touching moments about friendship and growing up.
7 Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Doing drugs and making off-color jokes, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) deliver just as many laughs as they did on their journey to White Castle in the original film. In Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, the guys get captured and thrown in prison after being mistaken for militants on a plane to Amsterdam. They manage to escape and set out to clear their names while running from the feds. It’s no classic, but the film plays like a string of enjoyable, silly skits.
6 Horrible Bosses 2
There’s no doubt that the first Horrible Bosses installment is definitely better than the second, but Horrible Bosses 2 is nothing to scoff at. The main trio has such great comedic chemistry and there’s no shortage of it in this amusing sequel. The plot feels a little thrown together, but Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jason Bateman will make viewers laugh from start to finish with outrageously dark jokes and the help of a star-studded cast, including Christoph Waltz, Chris Pine, and the return of Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Aniston.
5 Ice Age: The Meltdown
There may be too many films in the Ice Age franchise, but the second installment, Ice Age: The Meltdown, is one of the better ones. Nothing compares to the unique simplicity, setting, and animation style of the first film, but the second one introduces a realistic antagonist: global warming. Ice Age: The Meltdown also sees the addition of new cast members, such as Queen Latifah as Ellie, Manny’s love interest and fellow woolly mammoth (who actually thinks she’s a possum).
4 The Hangover Part II
Asking anyone about The Hangover Part II will probably result in them saying that it was a rip off of the first film and that the original is the only good movie in the entire trilogy. But those who’ve watched the third film will have more of an appreciation for the second installment. The Hangover Part II brings the Wolfpack back together for more shenanigans, this time in Thailand for Stu’s (Ed Helms) wedding. To no surprise, another character goes missing, and more animals and drugs are involved. Nevertheless, the laughs keep rolling in this dark comedy sequel.
3 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Mike Myers knocks it out of the park for the second time in the first Austin Powers sequel, The Spy Who Shagged Me, which was followed up by another sequel—Austin Powers in Goldmember—in 2002. Myers’ character acting is at its finest in this spy spoof trilogy, playing groovy British agent Austin Powers, campy villain Dr. Evil, obese Scotsman Fat B——, and later Goldmember, a Dutch super-villain and one of Dr. Evil’s henchmen. In The Spy Who Shagged Me, Myers battles himself again when Dr. Evil sets out to steal Austin Powers’ mojo by traveling back to the 1960s in his newly invented time machine. This hysterical sequel follows Powers as he tries to stop Dr. Evil from leaving him “shagless”—his worst nightmare.
2 Meet the Fockers
Jay Roach’s Meet the Fockers certainly isn’t a masterpiece, but those who are into immature, raunchy humor—including name puns—probably have special places in their hearts for this Meet the Parents sequel. Seeing more of grumpy, paranoid Robert De Niro as Jack Byrnes is fun in itself, but the addition of Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as Greg’s (Ben Stiller) parents makes this comedy sequel even more of a hoot.
1 Rush Hour 2
While the first Rush Hour felt more original, Rush Hour 2 ramps up the action and the funny. The second installment sees Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan exchanging dialogue and working more as a team as they investigate the murder of two U.S. customs agents. Watching the two hilariously rag on each other is like watching a couple of champions play tennis. In Rush Hour 2, Chan and Tucker’s chemistry makes every moment hilarious, even when the characters get themselves into life-or-death situations.
Next: 10 Great Movies That Never Needed a Sequel