Infantile jokes dominate 'Problem Child 2'

July 05, 1991|By Dave Kehr | Dave Kehr,Chicago Tribune

In their infinite wisdom, the Classification and Rating Administration of the Motion Picture Association of America recently created the NC-17 rating: No Children Under Seventeen Admitted.

What we need now, if only so it can be applied to "Problem Child 2," is a NA-12 designation: No one over 12, or the mental age thereof, permitted past the candy counter.

"Problem Child 2," as directed by TV veteran Brian Levant and written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, is a more or less steady stream of the gross-out jokes loved by all children in the immediate neighborhood of puberty. Its hero, the uncontrollable, beady-eyed Junior (Michael Oliver), represents the infantile id at its most maniacally unbridled.

While listing the gags of "Problem Child 2" in a family newspaper would probably produce a torrent of mail, most parents won't think twice about dropping their kids off at the mall to enjoy such all-time favorites as The Carnival Ride That Goes So Fast That Everyone Barfs on Each Other, the Dog That Poops Bigger Than Itself and The Man Who Drinks a Big Glass of Lemonade Only It's Really Something Else.

This sequel is far more scatological in its focus than its 1990 predecessor. This time, the mischievous Junior and his loving dad, Ben (John Ritter, now and forever much too ingratiating), have moved to the bayside village of Mortville. The town turns out to be the Divorcee Capital of the World, with a "50-to-1 chick-to-stud ratio," as a neighbor charmingly puts it.

Once the women of the village lay eyes on the hunky and available Mr. Ritter, they literally line up around the block, hoping to catch his attention. Junior, who drove his foster mother out of the house in the first film, devises a series of increasingly elaborate and stomach-churning jokes to chase the predatory women away.

'Problem Child 2'

Starring John Ritter, Michael Oliver.

Directed by Brian Levant

Universal Pictures

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