Today Universal released Get Him to the Greek, a sort-of sequel to 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall as it uses Aldous Snow who had a small role in the original. Beyond that, there is only a brief reference to Sarah Marshall, which has me thinking it’s not really a sequel as much as it is a spin-off. The same could be said for a movie like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)… Same characters, but not really a sequel to Clerks, which ended up having its own sequel in 2006.
In a debate with a group of fellow Seattle critics trying to decide if Get Him to the Greek was a sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall or not, the topic turned to comedy sequels in general and I was asked to name a great comedy sequel. Should be easy… right?
I started mining my memory banks, and started thinking of movies with the number “2” in the title and equating it with all the laughter I experienced watching it. Strangely enough, my mind went blank. There was nothing there. Certainly, movies came to mind, but were they really “great”? Could I say Police Academy 2 was a “great” movie? Was it great in the way Superman 2 is great when compared to the original? Was it great in the way Before Sunset, The Godfather: Part II or The Empire Strikes Back are individually great on top of being excellent in comparison to their respective original films?
As I began putting the list at the end of this article together one film I felt was a bona fide part two and a movie I would say qualifies as a great film did come to mind — Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle. However, I don’t think it’s anywhere near as good as Mr. Hulot’s Holiday and I am sure some would even argue it’s a sequel. Is it a sequel, or is Monsieur Hulot just in another situation the same way Aldous Snow is in Get Him to the Greek? I didn’t include any of Charlie Chaplin’s films on the list below either. I wouldn’t say any of his films with him as The Tramp are sequels. Would you?
And how about animated children’s films? Toy Story 2? Ice Age 2? Garfield 2? Are these comedies? I could ask the same about other films and their franchises. Is Lethal Weapon 2 a comedy sequel or more an action film with comedic elements? Is Back to the Future 2 a comedy sequel or a sci-fi film with some solid jokes tossed in? Lethal Weapon I lean more to saying “no,” while Back to the Future feels more like a “yes.”
Horror also gave me a hard time because the first A Nightmare on Elm Street is certainly not a comedy, but that franchise certainly devolved into the zany. Was Child’s Play meant to be a comedy? Its sequels were. The one film I am sure many will instantly mention is Evil Dead II. Personally I am not a fan of the Evil Dead series, but to each their own. I know a lot of people love that franchise and can understand why they would include it.
If I was to take things beyond the idea of simply looking at films that were part two in franchises I would instantly add Christmas Vacation to the list, but I still think I would have a hard time going much further.
So I leave the questioning up to you, and let me set a few things to consider for the discussion.
Next year we will see the release of The Hangover 2 and recently Paramount decided not to fund Anchorman 2 or Zoolander 2, much to the surprise and disdain of the Internet audience. Take a look at the following list and search your brain for great comedy sequels and then ask yourself if The Hangover 2 is such a great idea or if it’s really all that bad a thing Anchorman 2 and Zoolander 2 don’t look like they’re going to be made.
The following list is ordered by year and then in alphabetical order by title:
I am sure I missed some, but I tried to be as all-inclusive as I could without going overboard and I’d say 94 titles is pretty close to overboard. However, if you have more to add to the list please do so in the comments below. If you can create a top ten list of all-time “great” comedy sequels do that as well. Also, is it worth it to make comedy sequels or is comedy pretty much set up as a one-and-done scenario where a sequel only extends the joke to the point it’s no longer funny?