There's nothing funny about 'Problem Child 2'

On movies

July 08, 1991|By Lou Cedrone

The smaller children laughed at a lot of what they saw at an early screening of ''Problem Child 2,'' but then small children are suckers for toilet humor, and the new film is loaded with it.

It even includes a sequence in which the title character urinates into a pitcher of lemonade which is then consumed by the man next door.

Talk about un-funny. You'd have to be a kid, a very small one, to find anything amusing in this film, an immeasurably offensive sequel to the original that appeared this time last year.

The first "Problem" was also heavy with toilet humor, but it did have a few laughs. This one has none. This one is down there with ''Up the Academy,'' one of many ''Animal House'' imitations that tried to outdo the original by including a scene in which fecal matter floated in a swimming pool.

The same sort of material is used through much of this film, and when it isn't, we have flatulence and vomit. Yes, vomit.

Even the kids didn't laugh at this.

''Problem Child 2'' stars Michael Oliver, the same boy who appeared in the first film. It also includes John Ritter, who adopted the kid in the first movie. Everyone told him he was stupid, and he was. He is even more stupid in the second film, but he is hardly noticed because when you get down to it, the excrement and the vomit are the real stars of this movie.

This time, Junior (Oliver) electrocutes a woman caller (this is for laughs, so she lives), and when he isn't doing that, he's befouling the air and feeding roaches to those foolish enough to eat in his home.

This time, there is also a little girl, and she is as adorable as the boy, so adorable, you wonder how both have managed to survive as long as they have. The only one who comes out of this mishap with any kind of dignity is Laraine Newman, the ''Saturday Night Live'' veteran who plays a man-grabbing heiress. She wants to throttle Junior. We want to help her.

''Problem Child 2'' wasn't shown to the press prior to its public opening. You don't wonder about that, but you do wonder why they didn't just shelve the movie. Apart from the fact that it is leadenly unfunny, it is also irresponsible. You wouldn't want your small children to see it. You wouldn't want anyone to see it. This is a movie that has a 10-year-old boy act and talk dirty.

''Problem Child 2'' is the kind of film that has the spectator hoping that it will end, mercifully, at 75 or 80 minutes. Once more, it disappoints. It goes a full 90 minutes.

The problem is not so much the child. The problem is the movie, one which is, in its own way, amazing. Why was it made? Who made it? Do they have children? Would they want them to see this thing?

''Problem Child, 2'' is currently showing at theaters.

''Problem Child, 2'' - (No stars) - The kid who finally found an adoptive father in the first film moves to a new town with his new dad. There, he meets a little girl as obnoxious as he. CAST: John Ritter, Michael Oliver, Laraine Newman, Amy Yasbeck, Ivyann Schwan, Jack Warden DIRECTOR: Brian Levan RATING: PG-13 (language, sex, violence) RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

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