Comedy sequels fall into three categories: bad enough to make you wonder if the original was as good as you thought ("Weekend at Bernies II," "Evan Almighty," and far too many others); amusing but less entertaining than the first ("Ghostbusters II," "American Pie 2"); and -- rarest of all -- funny enough to stand on its own merits.
Here's hoping that the men-behaving-badly-again release of "The Hangover Part II" falls into the last group. In the meantime, here are five comedy sequels that aren't just worthy of the originals, but also righteously hilarious on their own.
5. 'Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay' (2008)
In most contexts, Gitmo is no laughing matter; but Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) transcend political sensitivity. The odd-couple duo (Harold's organized, Kumar's a slacker) take their ganja-laced humor to the notorious military prison after getting arrested on a flight to the pot-nirvana of Amsterdam. Despite the presence of gun-toting government agents, "Escape" is no "Bourne" adventure; it's still a stoner comedy at heart, and with the help of friends like Neil Patrick Harris, H & K made us laugh almost as hard as they did in "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle."
4. 'Wayne’s World 2' (1993)
Most movies based on recurring "Saturday Night Live" sketches don't rank very high on "best" lists ("A Night at the Roxbury," "It's Pat"... enough said), so imagine our pleasant surprise when not one, but both "Wayne World" comedies ended up being watchable. As our favorite cable-access basement-dwellers from Aurora, Illinois, plan a music festival, we're treated to visions of Jim Morrison and Sammy Davis Jr., a host of cameos (including a hilarious Christopher Walken) and enough lowbrow zingers to please boys and grown-ups alike.
3. 'The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear' (1991)
Leslie Nielsen, may he rest in peace, was a master of physical comedy and deadpan humor -- both of which are constantly evident in this gut-busting follow-up to the police-drama parody "The Naked Gun." As perpetually clueless Lieutenant Frank Drebin, Nielsen showcased his ability to win a laugh from every line -- especially in his innuendo-filled scenes with love-interest Priscilla Presley or with his partner O.J. Simpson (it's OK to laugh; this was three years before he put on the bloody glove).
2. 'Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me' (1999)
Mike Myers' career will forever be remembered for his live-action comedies of the '90s and the animated "Shrek" franchise of the 2000s. In his spy-parody sequel to "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," Myers pulled off a comic trifecta by portraying the titular man of mystery, the international supervillain Dr. Evil, and the grotesquely supersized henchman Fat Bastard. But Myers owes as much of his shagadelic success to his supporting players (including Mindy Sterling, Seth Green and Mini-Me Verne Troyer) as he does to catchphrases like "Yeaaah Baby!" and "I want my baby back, baby back, baby back… ribs."
1. 'Christmas Vacation' (1989)
It was tough deciding which Griswold family comedy deserved the honor, but in the end we have to crown this manic holiday classic our favorite. Of course, "European Vacation" was pretty damn funny (if you don't mind puerile gags about phallic-shaped sausages and porn-star wives), but it's ultimately too reminiscent of the far superior original to land the top spot. In "Christmas," we get to see Chuck wild-eyed about his oversized tree, over-the-top lights, and elderly and eccentric relatives. Nobody does slapstick like Chevy Chase, and no other cinematic family can make us laugh like the Griswolds.