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In the 12-years-since comedic sequel to 1993's The Sandlot, a new group of kids have moved into the sandlot: David Durango (Max Lloyd-Jones), Mac McKing (Brett Kelly), Saul (Cole Evan Weiss), his deaf brother Sammy "Fingers" (Sean Berdy), Tarquell (Neilen Benvegnu), Scotty's younger brother Johnnie Smalls (James Willson), and a surprise for The Sandlot 2, a girl in the group Hayley Goodfarier ('Samantha Burton'). When Johnnie mistakenly sends a model rocket over the junk fence in The Great Fear's yard, the gang must retrieve it. Even with the help of The Retriever (Griffin Reilly Evans, the director's son), a kid who steals dog tags and finds The Great Fear's a challenge. Yes, complete with another psychotic name-calling scene with Mac and little league captain Singleton (Reece Thompson). And, of course, with James Earl Jones as Mr. Mertle. Written by
Alex Madison <SouthParkFan1-2905>
Oh Dear Lord: somebody somewhere must have been offended by the original movie (which was obviously a fiendish plot to perpetuate the stereotype that a group of school boys could play sandlot baseball games without following preconceived notions of gender equity and politically correct behavior). The result of this brutish insensitivity manifests itself in "Sandlot 2", which is quite possibly the worst sequel ever made. Hey anonymous narrator guy who agreed to reprise his 'Sandlot 1' role for this atrocity...have you no shame?
This film's offenses to all of moviedom are far too numerous to adequately catalog. First and foremost, "Sandlot 2" is not so much a sequel as it is a B level remake of the original. Virtually every situation from the first movie is clumsily recreated by a far less talented cast and group of writers: the scene where Squints kisses Wendy Peppercorn is transformed into bizarre (yet utterly predictable) slapstick involving a kissing booth, another 'Beast' must be outrun (this time by the uninspiring Max Lloyd-Jones), another outfield wall collapses...you get the picture. And what this shameless ripoff cannot steal from the original, it manages to plunder from other movies (such as the scene in "Bad NewsBears" where Amanda takes a cheap shot to the chest near home plate).
The cast itself is incredibly lackluster. Max Lloyd-Jones is an inadequate replacement for Mike Vitar's benevolent Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez, although to be fair, the writing doesn't help him any; whereas Rodriguez selflessly places his own reputation on the line to take a shy, gawky kid under his wing for the summer, Lloyd-Jones' "David Durango" has little concern for the plight of misunderstood Johnnie Smalls (yes, the little brother of Scotty Smalls) and appears far more interested in being aloof and ultra-cool while scouting out love interests. Brett Kelly's "Hamilton Porter" impersonation begins and ends with his physical appearance. Even little James Wilson sounds suspiciously like Marcy from "The Peanuts Gang" as Johnnie Smalls, and he was probably the most talented of the bunch.
And then there is Teryl Rothery appearing in a hackneyed feminist role that undoubtedly had Susan B. Anthony turning in her grave. No cliché is left unturned as she chides her husband for calling his daughter by a pet name ("Female children are every bit as good as male children" she pronounces, providing an unsuspecting Johnnie Smalls with a smarmy look just oozing with resentment and general creepiness. *shudder*) and responds to her daughter's romantic uncertainties by telling her that "women need a man like a fish needs a bicycle". Sadly, the writers did not manage to have Rothery work a single utterance of "Burn your BRA for the ERA" into the mother/daughter dialog, but perhaps they will correct this glaring oversight in time for "Sandlot 3: The Gloria Steinem story". Coming soon to a theater near you?
The rest of the movie provides a quick cure for insomniacs far and wide as the writers desperately try to make amends for the first film's over-indulgence of testosterone (the phrase 'Male Chauvinist Pig' was repeated, I think,about eighty-six times). The movie's objective can probably be summed up in a single line, where the insult fest between the sandlot kids and the little leaguers is recreated. "You play ball like a GIRL!" one of the kids snarls. "Ex--CUSE me?" chirps one of the newfound female ballplayers. The only thing missing from the moment was a scrolling disclaimer at the bottom of the screen with the producers not only apologizing for the original scene but for everything else wrong with the world up to and including dishwater spots.
Which is all well and good. My only question is, when will these same producers get around to issuing an apology for stealing ninety-seven minutes of my life that I can never, ever get back?
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