“Ted 2”: Ranking the top comedy sequels of all time

ted2
One of the hardest things to get right in Hollywood seems to be a sequel to a hit comedy. For one reason or another, most comedy sequels tend to fall flat. As such, it’s all the more notable when one succeeds, as it’s rather rare. This week though, we have a success story in Ted 2, which manages to be nearly as good as the first one. That’s not the highest praise possible, but for a category like this, it qualifies you. Below you’ll see my ranking of the best comedy sequels of all time. I figured it would be fun, so I hope you enjoy!

Here now is how I would rank the ten best comedy sequels to date:

10. Ted 2 – The newest addition to this list is hardly an amazing film, but it’s a very funny one and happens to be barely a step down from the first one, mostly due to the original being so fresh. As such, Seth MacFarlane’s creation is assured a spot on this list. His CGI bear’s interactions with Mark Wahlberg continue to be a lot of raunchy fun, plain and simple.

9. Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell Of Fear – I’ll confess to not being as high on this cop spoof franchise as most, but this is the best sequel of their lot. Granted, they’re all pretty funny, but this comes the closest to the original, at least in my eyes. If nothing else, watching Leslie Nielsen in this role is sure to elicit some chuckles out of you.

8. Shrek 2 – Believe it or not, I might actually think that this is funnier than the first Shrek. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy as sparring partners in this animated take down of fairy tales and happily ever after are an absolute delight, just as much as in the original installment. Things went downhill from here, but this first sequel was quite good.

7. This is 40 – More a dramedy than a comedy, this is still more than acceptable for this list. Judd Apatow revisited the lives of Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd’s supporting characters from Knocked Up, putting them center stage and going to town on subjects ranging from marriage to middle age. It traffics a lot in discomfort and awkward humor, but in many ways it’s Apatow’s most mature effort to date. I’m a fan of it, as you’d imagine.

6. Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me – Another rare sequel that matched its original…there must be something about Myers? This second spy spoof in the franchise is a time hopping delight and managed to do the hit business that the first one only found as a cult favorite. It doesn’t especially hold up today, but it’s still worth a giggle or two.

5. American Pie 2 – Is this essentially a plot less film? Yes, but that’s part of its charm. Few comedy sequels more effective just let us spend extra time with the people we initially came to love than this one. You enjoyed the time spent watching Jason Biggs and company attempt to lose their virginity, so their plan to spend their first summer post high school together is almost bittersweet in how you know these relationships will strain as college continues. It’s still a raunchy comedy, but it has an underrated amount of heart as well.

4. 22 Jump Street – Perhaps the most meta sequel of all time, this is just as good as the inexplicably great 21 Jump Street. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum make for a tremendous comedy team, so watching them take the piss out of sequels on the whole is a real riot. If this franchise stays as original as it is now, I think it could wind up dominating a list like this one in the next decade.

3. A Shot in the Dark – For many the best comedy sequel ever, this Pink Panther sequel has the late great Peter Sellers doing some of his funniest work as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. I’m sure all of you have seen this already, but if you haven’t…get on that now. I may only have it in the top three and not at number one, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a classic.

2. Toy Story 2 – I nearly disqualified this because the Toy Story franchise isn’t overtly comedic, at least in terms of the sequels (which is why I didn’t put the superior sequel Toy Story 3), but I left this one here. It’s got some sadness for sure, but it’s still an adventure comedy at this point. That would change, but here the modern classic is still mostly about fun and laughter.

1. Clerks II – A controversial choice perhaps, but Kevin Smith’s sequel to his first film is a modern comedy classic. It’s got heart, some of the funniest jokes of the past two decades, and manages to honor the original. It’s basically a perfect sequel, so I had to include it as my top pick here. Any other choice just wouldn’t have felt right to me.

Honorable Mention: Ghostbusters II and The Muppets

Be sure to check out Ted 2 this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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