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Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

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Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Old 06-08-14, 10:30 PM
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Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

With another comedy sequel coming out in a few days (22 Jump Street -- and it looks pretty good actually), I wanted to reflect on the poor, poor history of (live action) comedy sequels.

Thinking back on it, personally I can't really think of any great comedy sequels at all. Sure a cast can reunite for another different movie (Monty Python films, for example), but it seems no matter how big the hit comedy was, the sequel just about never works - something that universally is certainly not the case for action or horror films -- some of those work, others don't. My theory has always been that comedies, when they work, are basically lightning in a bottle. What makes them funny for the most part is that it's something that the audience hasn't seen before or isn't expecting. Comedy sequels seem to make one of a few mistakes 1) They repeat everything that happened in the last movie and it's just less funny the second time around (Airplane 2, The Hangover 2), they mistake louder and more expensive for funnier (Beverly Hills Cop 2, Wayne's World ) 3), they can't really think of a logical reason that the story should continue but write a sequel anyway (Sister Act 2, Home Alone 2, Jewel of the Nile) or 4) they try to recapture the magic and make an okay but clearly inferior and less memorable film (Ghostbusters 2, Anchorman 2). I do think that one thing most comedies must have to make them work is a tidy ending and it does seem that a nicely wrapped-up conclusion to the story does make writing a sequel harder.

I keep thinking back and trying to recall a really good movie sequel and can't really come up with one. I guess the second and third Naked Gun films were alright (though I have much fonder memories of the first one). It looks like 22 Jump Street might be the exception that proves the rule. on that one.

What are your thoughts on comedy sequels? Can you think of any that were as good or better than the original? (Live action only. I know Pixar and Dreamworks have made some great animated sequels, but that's kind of a different type of movie).
Old 06-08-14, 10:54 PM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

I enjoyed the Austin Powers sequels.
Old 06-08-14, 11:06 PM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Christmas Vacation. A lot of people consider it to be the best of the Vacation films.
Old 06-08-14, 11:13 PM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

I thought the Naked Gun series was consistently funny (though the first was the best).

I'll also nominate the Pink Panther series for producing several funny sequels.

Abbott and Costello piled up the funny (if you want to consider those a "series")
Old 06-08-14, 11:24 PM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

First one that came to mind for me was Fierce Creatures, but that falls into the same cast, different movie category.

Clerks 2 is interesting and not mentioned. Funny but had no chance of being as iconic as the original which was a landmark film for GenX.

Originally Posted by joliom
Christmas Vacation. A lot of people consider it to be the best of the Vacation films.
Great example.

Oh, and the obvious winner (spoilerized for that duh moment)....

Spoiler:
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Old 06-08-14, 11:37 PM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Originally Posted by resinrats
I enjoyed the Austin Powers sequels.
Part 1 was a parody of James Bond.

Parts 2 & 3 were parodies of Part 1.
Old 06-09-14, 12:17 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
Oh, and the obvious winner (spoilerized for that duh moment)....

Spoiler:
Well, animated movies were specifically excluded by the original poster. Which I kind of agree with, since I don't think they're straight up comedies.

I guess Get Him to the Greek isn't really a sequel and more of a spinoff, as I thought that movie was pretty funny. I can't think of many comedy sequels that were decent though.

Last edited by fumanstan; 06-09-14 at 12:22 AM.
Old 06-09-14, 12:26 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Originally Posted by fumanstan
Well, animated movies were specifically excluded by the original poster. Which I kind of agree with, since I don't think they're straight up comedies.
Missed the last sentence, obviously.
Old 06-09-14, 12:26 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Leonard Part 6 was easily the weakest of that series.
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Old 06-09-14, 01:12 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

It is difficult for comedies to top the original, but that doesn't mean there aren't worthy comedy sequels. The two that immediately come to my mind are two that were already mentioned, that being The Naked Gun Trilogy and the Vacation films.

I'd also argue the Back to the Future Trilogy, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, and even the Police Academy sequels (although the first is obviously the best).
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Old 06-09-14, 06:02 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Comedy sequels always suck because they try to recycle the same jokes with different situations. The sequels usually have a few funny moments in them, but they never past the test of time when you watch them years later.
Old 06-09-14, 08:26 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

They're by no means 'great' comedies, but both the Brady Bunch and Addams Family sequels are better/funnier than the originals.
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Old 06-09-14, 08:35 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

I agree, both Addams Family Values and A Very Brady Sequel were better than the original movies. I also really liked Wayne's World 2 until the finale.

22 Jump Street seems to use the same framing device and plot of 21 Jump Street with better jokes. I'm alright with that (it has a 98% right now on rottentomatoes with 40 reviews), Naked Gun sort of did something similar. And while it fits the "it goes bigger", I will always have a soft spot for Gremlins II.

Last edited by RichC2; 06-09-14 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 06-09-14, 09:31 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Addams Family and Brady Bunch both take the run time of the original movie to establish these actors in those familiar roles. There really isn't much time for plot or much in the way of jokes - it's more about reminding you who the character are in this world. That's why the sequel work - they're free to explore plots and stories (much like how Superman 2 and Spider-Man 2 were better films than their predecessors because they were freed from their familiar origin stories).
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Old 06-09-14, 09:41 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

They're not doomed to fail, it's just that most do because the studios treat them like an ATM.
Give the audience more of the same and we'll have a great opening weekend." I'd say the sequels where the original creators are involved and allowed to do what they think is best are more likely to be worth anything.
Old 06-09-14, 09:49 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

I disagree with any assessment that the Austin Powers or Naked Gun sequels were remotely worthwhile, but that's why comedy is subjective. The first movies were hilarious. The sequels, not so much. Same with Vacation for that matter. Never got the love for Christmas Vacation, thought it was putrid but given the love for that one it seems I'm in the minority there

Would agree with Brady Bunch though (but not Addams Family). But few comedy sequels are any good, and almost all of them are completely unnecessary.
Old 06-09-14, 10:01 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

The American Pie sequels were pretty good.
Old 06-09-14, 10:18 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Originally Posted by RichC2
And while it fits the "it goes bigger", I will always have a soft spot for Gremlins II.
I like Gremlins 2, but I don't even really think of the original as a comedy. Sure, it has comedic elements, but the tone is way more serious. The second one dropped any pretense of trying to be scary and just hammed it up.
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Old 06-09-14, 10:21 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

The Hope and Crosby "Road to" movies did very well and the 3rd and 4th (Morocco, Utopia), were the funniest.


Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 06-09-14 at 10:54 AM.
Old 06-09-14, 10:31 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy
I disagree with any assessment that the Austin Powers or Naked Gun sequels were remotely worthwhile, but that's why comedy is subjective. The first movies were hilarious. The sequels, not so much. Same with Vacation for that matter. Never got the love for Christmas Vacation, thought it was putrid but given the love for that one it seems I'm in the minority there
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Old 06-09-14, 10:58 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Originally Posted by CharlieK
They're not doomed to fail, it's just that most do because the studios treat them like an ATM.
That's wrong. If studios really did treat movies like ass to mouth, they would be some of the best and biggest movies ever. They never give the audience what they want.
Old 06-09-14, 11:11 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Originally Posted by SuckaMC
The American Pie sequels were pretty good.
That's actually a good one, I really liked the American Pie sequels; something was off about Wedding, but 2 and Reunion were pretty good.
Old 06-09-14, 11:27 AM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

I'll go with you on American Pie 2. Wedding was putrid though. Still haven't caught reunion.
Old 06-09-14, 07:54 PM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

The first two Cheech & Chong sequels (Next Movie and Nice Dreams) were about up to par with Up in Smoke.
Old 06-09-14, 09:13 PM
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Re: Comedy Sequels : Are They Doomed To Fail?

Is the track record for comedy sequels any worse than the track record for any type of sequel? Most sequels will be crap, just like most adaptations will be crap, just like most original movies will be crap. It's just hard to make a quality film, period.

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