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Much better upon second viewing
This is a movie that you won't appreciate at all unless you give it a real chance. That means giving it your full attention and listening to all the dialogue between the characters... not just having it on in the background while you're doing chores at home, only glancing up at the screen during high-action moments. While the visuals in the movie are good, they won't make any sense to you unless you're paying close attention. I know this because the first time I watched this movie, I didn't give it a real chance, and didn't think highly of it. The second time, I put in the effort and thus received the payoff-- I really enjoyed it.
The best thing about "2010" is that it elucidates some of the mysteries of "2001" (which sure had a lot of mysteries). It also lets you know exactly what was *not* meant to be understood in "2001"-- some things from that movie remain mysteries on purpose. After watching this movie, I had none of the puzzlement that I had after "2001"-- which was refreshing. This movie makes the viewer feel uplifted and intelligent, rather than confused and dense as "2001" made me feel (and I know I'm not alone with that feeling). This is indeed an uplifting and optimistic movie, much unlike the dark and pessimistic "2001."
I may be in the minority, but I loved this film. I loved the original as well. The sequel has plenty of laughs, and many occur during understated moments. The nerds' arrival at their one-star hotel, the Hotel Coral Essex, was hilarious to me. Who among us hasn't found ourselves in less-than-desirable accommodations at one time or another? From the chickens roaming inside, to the un-swimmable pool, to the Peep Show establishment sharing the building, this is the embodiment of everyone's vacation nightmare, a la "National Lampoon's Vacation", but even more so. The Cuban-American front desk clerk-- and her fervent love of Ricky Ricardo-- was a real treat. Those who did not laugh at these moments are likely those who are less experienced in life. I enjoyed the Florida "stereotypes" (which were not all insulting -- Sunny was a nice, typical Florida girl), having traveled there myself, as well as the blast-from-the-past 1980s setting/filming. The stereotype of the flamboyantly gay man in Lamar's character was enjoyable and humorous to me, and I hope other viewers saw it in the "light" way that it was meant to be taken, as well. I also hope that other viewers were not offended in any way by the portrayal of the African American chapter of Tri-Lambda, because I found them to be the *most* upstanding characters in both this film and the original. I would have liked to see those characters featured in even more scenes. While the absence of Gilbert on the trip was a little disappointing, it was great to see him for a few moments here and there. Lewis carried the other scenes perfectly well by himself. With his sensitive nature and good looks beneath his "nerd" costuming, it is not too much of a stretch to imagine beautiful yet emotionally mature and smart ladies like Sunny falling in love with Lewis. Finally (POSSIBLE SPOILER? ALERT!), I couldn't have asked for a happier ending than the conversion of one of the Alpha Betas. Some extra features on the DVD (such as outtakes, interviews, cast biographies, etc.) would have been welcomed / appreciated, but one can't have everything, I guess!