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I don't know what to say: i just really liked this movie. I even cried
Maybe I am just cheesie or too romantic, but what the heck....
In my eyes, the main storyline is not the search for the mother, but the
discovery of those first loving feelings, the changing of the body, the
transformation from childhood to adolescence, in short: it is a story about
growing up. Something we all have gone through....its such a "feeling good"
film: all people are friendly, there are no sorrows...
It gets a 7/10 (which is a lot coming from me, believe me)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Roger Ebert appeared disliked this film because of its loosely-jointed
subplots. That actually isn't really the problem with the movie,
though, as it is more introspection and characterization, and for what
it's worth, does a pretty good job with that. However, it is true that
there is a lack of the kind of character evolution we saw in the first
And part of that has to do with the characterization of Maggie, Vada's mother, the key albeit absent persona in this story. Since almost nothing was revealed of Vada's mother in the first movie, the writers seemed to think themselves free to do whatever they liked, but the character they created is so completely and obviously contrived and retrofitted that it destroys any credibility this film has and makes it difficult to reach the end.
Let's start with the simple, obvious continuity errors. In the original film, Harry Sultenfuss indicated, when his daughter was 11 1/2, that he had not been on a date in 20 years. Yet in this movie, he indicates to Veda that he met her mother and "proposed to her on the second date; two weeks later, we were married; almost nine months later, you were here and she was gone." So that would have made his last date at most about 13 years prior to his 20-year assertion, assuming he never had a date with his wife while they were married. Since, speaking on the order of a few decades, rounding to scores of years seems just a bit overkill, I'm going to have to call the writers' bluff on this one.
Also, Maggie, as shown in pictures here, looks more like a wannabe Marilyn Monroe than the pretty but somewhat frumpily-dressed young lady we saw beside Harry Sultenfuss in the first film.
And this little gaffe points to character problems that are not so much continuity-related as thematic. Maggie was an aspiring actress born and raised in Los Angeles who frequented hipsters, walked out in protest over Senator Joseph McCarthy and first married in New York City... and somehow she ended up in bucolic heartland Pennsylvania married to a forensic anthropologist. A conversation toward the end of this movie does suggest that she was undergoing a personal evolution and wanted a life that was a bit more grounded and down-to-Earth than what one would find in Hollywood, so perhaps that isn't so implausible.
One problem. The tone of the movie, with regard to its treatment of particular subject matters, is decidedly anti-McCarthy and even anti-Nixon. It is not that one can never be both pro-family/pro-rural/pro-heartland/pro-religion and anti-G.O.P., but when the foils happen to be lefty New Age hipster types, as they most certainly are here, that sort of juxtaposition is more than a little disjointed. (Oh, and the proud Young Republican McCarthyite cop pushing bogus charges against a discreet man for the sake of the snot-nosed kid of a non-famous chick he apparently despised anyway? That was too much.)
Unplanned sequels are tricky things. One has already largely resolved the conflicts from the first movie, and retroactively locating the points where the story and characters remain sufficiently open for further conflict and development is not easy. In this instance, the writers may or may not have done their best, but the result, notwithstanding the charm Vada and her family still exude (Nick, however, cannot hold a candle to Thomas J. in terms of personality), looks like just another artificial packaged product capitalizing on a good brand name. (On that note, conveniently, the conclusion of the previous movie left the authors with a logical narrative reason for not paying Macaulay Culkin's salary, which would doubtlessly have been astronomical by this point.)
A final slice of food for thought. It is not that older films never strained plausibility, but to the extent that they did, they usually didn't try to take themselves so seriously as to pretend to hyper-realism. I think this is one reason why one must wade through newer films so much more tediously to find good ones, and why contemporary cinema could stand to take a lesson or two from the theater.
No, MG2 isn't as good as the first movie, but how often are sequels better than the first? (I will make a case for Toy Story 2.) Anyway, the acting is strong (especially Anna Chlumsky, who is wonderful again as Vada), the plot of Vada researching her mother's life is very interesting, but the subplots are a little pedestrian and cliched. I read a review that claimed Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis were "sleepwalking" in their roles, but in all fairness, they didn't really have much to do in this movie. The fabulous Christine Ebersole steals several scenes, and Austin O'Brien does a good job here as well. It may not be the greatest film ever, but you could certainly do worse!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've seen this movie several times, and read the other comments to see
if another viewer would enlighten me as to why this movie was so "bad",
but the negative reviewers were hard-pressed to find specific examples
-- all people said was "it's a sequel, so it's pointless, they
shouldn't have made it, THEREFORE it must be bad." If you ask me,
that's definitely jumping to conclusions; it's very easy to write a
review like that without ever having seen the movie at all.
What's interesting about this movie is, while it is a sequel, unlike most sequels, it just as easily could stand on its own -- viewers need not have seen My Girl before seeing My Girl 2. The setting is, for the most part, completely different (from funeral home in Pennsylvania to sunny California). Vada's character, which, in the first movie, had been a neurotic hypochondriac, has "recovered" and now is more or less a normal teenager. Shelley (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been accepted into the family and is now just a loving stepmother -- and she plays a minor role in the film, anyway, as most of the film concerns Vada away from home -- and thus an entirely different cast of new characters were introduced. Instead of looking at this film as a sequel, one could easily see it as a 13-year-old girl attempting to find out more about the mother she never knew. I wouldn't exactly call that contrived, and the movie didn't incessantly "repeat" themes or jokes (or make more than a reference or two) to the first movie.
What I came away with, though, was that the story line didn't feel strong enough to sustain the movie. Yes, it was enjoyable, but there weren't a lot of twists and turns to move the main story forward -- a lot of the major points of conflict were found in the subplots, actually -- the relationship between Vada's uncle (who makes a cameo in the first movie, and whose character is expanded here) and his fiancée; the relationship between Vada and Nick (which is slightly disturbing considering he's going to be her cousin); the news of Shelley's pregnancy, etc. The bulk of the main story, after Vada arrives in California, consists of her talking to people somewhat matter-of-factly; she never really hits any "dead ends" or runs into any problems until near the end when Vada finds out about her mother's first husband. For some reason, though, that doesn't feel much like a satisfying climax, because nothing really built up to it or "prepared" the audience for it. On the other hand, the following scene, where Vada gets to "see" her mother for the first time (on film), really arouses the sentimental pathos so characteristic of the first movie. However, I wonder what is implied by the final scene -- where Vada flies home to be with her father and Shelley and the new baby and sings the song her mother sang in the film -- is it saying that although Vada grew up without a mother, she can play "mother" to this child? But the child already has a mother (and not Vada's mother). There is no real coming-of-age in this movie, either, as might be expected in a film with a thin plot -- possibly because Vada is pretty sane in this film, and there aren't many more of her values one can alter.
Somehow, overall, the film manages to come off as enjoyable, though, if maybe just for the audience's curiosity about the mysterious half of Vada's family she knew little about. I can't quite classify it as a "good film", but even with all the little things I listed above I can't exactly classify it as a "bad" film, either. It follows a different sort of formula than the first movie, so I don't even feel like seeing if it measures up to the original is a fair point of comparison. It's different -- let's just leave it at that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was recently watching a movie with Anna Chlumsky as a young adult,
and recalled that I have never seen "My Girl" or this one, "My Girl 2",
which my local library had on DVD. So tonight I did.
In this movie she is Vada Sultenfuss, whose dad, Dan Aykroyd is undertaker Harry Sultenfuss. Vada is a good student, especially in the language arts and when the class gets the assignment to write about someone (1) they never met and (2) who has great accomplishments, she decided to write about her mother who died when Vada was a baby.
Not knowing much about her mom, she used money she saved, over a school break, to fly to Los Angeles, where her mom grew up and went to school, and stay with her uncle. That is the subject of this movie. She learns a lot that no one knew, and decided that her mom's greatest accomplishment was having her.
Jamie Lee Curtis is her step-mom, Shelly Sultenfuss, about to give birth to a son. Austin O'Brien is the boy she meets in L.A., Nick Zsigmond, and he becomes her first love. Irish actress Angeline Ball plays her dead mom, Maggie Muldovan, and we only see her in home movies.
It was interesting to see J.D. Souther who played Jeffrey Pommeroy, married to Maggie for a very brief time before Maggie married Vada's father. Souther is mainly a song writer, and I hear his name mentioned every time I play the Eagles DVD of their return concert.
Well, I certainly enjoyed its predecessor. The previous film had a
simple story, but it was more character driven rather than a plot
oriented film. That was the reason the audience were left heartbroken
at the sudden death of a major character.
The story continues as Shelly is pregnant and Vada realizes that she barely knows her late mother. Thus, she decides to leave for LA to get to know more of her mother.
My Girl, focused more upon how Vada grew up in an funeral home with death all around and how she matured. It was a story about growing up. I liked the mystery around the character of her mother and wasn't much curious as to how she actually was. Whereas, this is completely different. It is more of a plot driven story, an adventure as one might say, with little to no character development. For me at least, I think this movie destroys the characters created in the previous film. Vada is now mature, but it was her innocence which made me love the previous film. So it is a pointless sequel i'd say. My Girl should have been left alone.
On the other hand if you look at it as a standalone film i.e. no connection with the previous film, it is actually a good film. If someone sees this film before the previous one, they might like it.
Acting: Anna is mature, and has acted just fine. Austin is average. Rest of the cast is good.
Music: Good, refreshing.
A weak and unnecessary sequel.
Yes, I know "My Girl 2" was a sequel. Yes, I know it is hard to follow the first movie. But the reason why I love this movie is because of the way we see Vada Sultenfuss has changed over the course of a few years. I loved seeing the sweet, innocent Vada become more of an adult & still remain likeable as a character. I also love Austin O'Brien in this movie; to date, he has not been in anything memorable, but I think the role of Nick was suited for him. I do find the relationship they have somewhat disenchanting, but it was what I was waiting for the whole movie. I think the plot was an interesting one, and Maggie Muldovan made this movie. It is, as another reviewer remarked, worth it to watch the movie countless times just to hear her sing "Smile." I love all of this movie, though, so I would advise seeing it.
This movie is one of my favorites. It's corny, it's fairly predictable and it's not great cinema, but it takes me back to those innocent days of first love and those "butterflies in the stomach" feelings. The main point of the movie, is almost secondary to the romance between the two kids. You know, there's too much sex and not enough romance in our movies and we lose something in that magical step from love to get right into the bedroom and well, you know. And this is coming from a guy!!! This movie will make you remember that first kiss or that first date. I felt Anna Chlumsky and Austin O'Brien were just great together. Never quite sure of themselves and wondering what these strange feelings are that they have for each other, their cold start together flourishes into that strange, insecure but light headed feeling only a member of the opposite sex can give you. I loved it, and it has Richard Masur in it, which is always a treat. Good for the whole family (not for real little kids though).
It's the summer time again for Vada Sultenfuss and this time she has
assignment to do. She has to write about someone she really admires, but has
never met. Vada almost immediately decides to write about her mother, but
realises she only knows a little bit about her. Vada then manages to
persuade her father to let her go to LA to stay with her Uncle Phil and do
some research on her mother. Vada's father agrees and once she gets to LA,
her Uncle Phil puts his girlfriends young son, Nick in charge of looking
after Vada. Nicks not happy about this as he wants to spend his summer,
doing what he wants to do. When he finally agrees, he Vada go on a long and
difficult, but interesting search for facts about her mother.
Anna Chlumsky, Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Aykroyd are all back here and of course the arrival of Austin O'Brien. Everyone here gives great performances in the movie.
My Girl 2 is a really sequel, to the first My Girl, which is also great. Just like the first one, it includes, great directing, great acting, a great story-line and much more. If you enjoyed the first My Girl, then you'll definitely enjoy this movie.
The original "My Girl" from 1991 was a quality drama about a 10
year-old girl experiencing tragic death. In "My Girl 2" she's now 13
and goes to Southern California to learn about her mother she never
knew. Her companion is played by Austin O'Brien. Dan Aykroyd and Jamie
Lee Curtis play her father and stepmother while Richard Masur and
Christine Ebersole co-star as her uncle and potential aunt. The
beautiful Angeline Ball has a small role as her mother in flashbacks.
This is just a solid drama, as good or better than the original. The adventures of the two 13 year-olds as they go from person to person searching for information about Vada's mother compels the story along. The people they meet are colorful or interesting. The peripheral subplots are good too, like will the Uncle propose to Rose or allow some rich dude with a Jaguar to snatch her up?
The film runs 99 minutes and was shot in Los Angeles, California, including Topanga Canyon.
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