An agreeable change of pace after the melodramatics of the first film, this lightweight but likeable sequel takes Vada (Anna Chlumsky) on a journey of self-discovery. The suspense is minimal and the results predictable, but the trip is reasonably enjoyable, with most of the top talent
It's 1974 and Vada, now 13, is facing more changes. Her funeral-director father Harry (Dan Aykroyd) and new wife Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis) are expecting their first baby. Deciding to fill in some blanks in her own history by writing a school paper about her late mother Maggie, Vada, over Harry's
objections, loots her piggy bank to fly to Los Angeles, where Maggie grew up. Vada is mildly scandalized to find Harry's brother Phil (Richard Masur) "living in sin" with feisty garage owner Rose (Christine Ebersole) and her teenage son Nick (LAST ACTION HERO's Austin O'Brien). Vada's initial
dislike for Nick predictably turns to puppy love as the two scour LA interviewing Maggie's schoolmates and acquaintances, who include a boozy poet, an oily movie director, a gruff LA cop, and a flaky Hollywood store owner. They eventually discover that Vada's mom had been married before and that
her first husband, Jeffrey (John David Souther), may have been Vada's real father. When the girl meets him, however, Jeffrey reveals that he and Maggie divorced because she wanted children and he didn't. Back at the garage, Rose has a mild flirtation with a sports-car-driving pediatrician (Gerrit
Graham) that forces a marriage proposal from Phil. News that Shelly has gone into labor sends Vada home to greet the arrival of a new baby brother, but not before she gets her first kiss from Nick.
With credits that include HEARTS OF THE WEST, HOUSE CALLS, and PRIVATE BENJAMIN, director Howard Zieff has never been known for cutting-edge moviemaking, and some critics condemned MY GIRL 2 for being overly soft. Zieff tries to make a case that adults can still be decent role models and that
teenagers may still grow up in a perfectly "average" way--or at least they could in the pre-Geraldo, pre-Oprah early '70s, particularly if they're white and affluent. Hence, Vada manages to run at large in LA, pretty much without adult supervision, and doesn't turn into a drug-addicted street
prostitute. Her major act of adolescent rebellion is getting her ears pierced--over the unexpected objection of Nick, who finds the custom "barbaric," but buys her a set of earrings as a going-away present anyway. Along the way, Vada learns to take responsibility for herself and her life,
discovers the importance of setting realistic goals, and masters the kind of social skills that are generally supposed to serve children well as they grow into adulthood. And she does all this without getting tongue-kissed by Robert De Niro.
It's unvarnished, retrograde fantasy, of course, but it's hard to see what's wrong with that, especially with a cast as agreeable as this one. Though much more subdued this time out, Chlumsky gives what might be described as a risky performance, since conveying plausible growth in a character is
something almost invariably discouraged in sequel retreads. The rest of the cast is as capable as before, with Ebersole a lively, welcome addition and O'Brien making a nice impression despite a role that has him doing little beyond tagging along with Chlumsky on her research. Though in a different
key from its predecessor, MY GIRL 2 is engaging--if instantly forgettable--family entertainment.
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: PG
- Review: An agreeable change of pace after the melodramatics of the first film, this lightweight but likeable sequel takes Vada (Anna Chlumsky) on a journey of self-discovery. The suspense is minimal and the results predictable, but the trip is reasonably enjoyable… (more)