Review: CRITTERS 2 (1988)

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Best Bad Quote:
“It looks like some kind of Critter convention…”
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And we’re back at Grover’s Bend. However, a lot can change in two years, and unfortunately, change is not always for the better. Suffice it to say, when director Stephen Herek passed the Crite torch to Mick Garris, the latter definitely dropped the critter ball. Granted, sequels are pretty much DOA. Whatever the integrity of the original, each subsequent chapter of a cinematic story generally hacks a chunk out of it. This is part of what makes the Horror genre fun (in apology for the violence), but in this case, the results are not funny. They are downright sill’. Hence, Critters 2: a hilarious family film about Easter and ground beef.
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Scott Grimes reprises his role as misunderstood bad boy, Brad Brown– Hell of an alliteration– who returns to Grover’s Bend to visit his Nana (Herta Ware). Brad endures the usual struggles of the profligate son upon his return: he’s treated like a leper because of the “crazy story” he and his drunkard friend Charlie (Don Opper) made up about aliens all those two whole years ago, the girl he has a crush on is off limits because her father thinks he’s bad news– I mean, he has an EARRING– and then there is the nagging problem of the Crites. It seems that not all of them were destroyed the first go-round. They laid some eggs. Easter eggs. Now, their dormant, shelled offspring are being ignorantly decorated and passed around like hot cakes for the big holiday hunt. Whoops!
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These puppies are heated and ready to hatch, which means those celestial Bounty Hunters have some unfinished work to do– with Charlie in tow. Yeah, apparently he’s a BH too now, albeit a rather ill-adept one. Ug still has his beautiful Terence Mann face, but sidekick Lee remains sadly faceless– he never found the perfect fit. This means, upon their return to earth to exterminate, Lee goes through his own Pretty Woman fashion show of sorts, trading faces with many a local until he finds the one he really wants– that of nude model Roxanne Kernohan. Garris totally ups the ante by giving the Critters series the one thing it has been missing, (or should I say two?). That’s right, the audience gets to partake in some healthy, extra-terrestrial nudity: Lee’s huge new bazookas, complete with a centerfold staple. Those mighty-morphing bounty hunters sure pay attention to detail.
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What follows is… nothing. Nothing happens. The Critters hatch, kill the Easter bunny by gnawing on his balls, and then rudely contaminate the food at the Hungry Heifer burger barn. The big coup of the film, if you can call it that, is the new Critter-rific mode of attack. All the buggers get together and roll as one, giant ball of fury– which is pulled along by a very visible string, but nevermind. The fact that nearly the entire movie takes place during the not-so-eerie day, added to the fact that the Critters don’t really seem all that interested in eating humans– they dig cheeseburgers– makes the stakes very, very low this time. In Critters, the Browns were fighting for their lives. Critters 2 sees the whole town battling for dominion of their favorite restaurant.
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Could this be a political satire? Maybe Garris was ahead of his time and consequently a huge influence for Quentin Tarantino’s re-imagined history pics, Inglourious Basterds and, Django Unchained. In Critters 2’s case, the natives (Indians) are allowed to figh off their savage invaders (early settlers) and save their town (land). I mean, the Native Americans probably view the standard Caucasian American with the same disgust when we greedily gorge at Thanksgiving as the film’s Kansas residents view the Crites. Maybe…
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I won’t spoil the ending, but that’s only because the movie spoils itself. While Critters was funny and even mildly creepy, Critters 2’s maladministered attempts at humor makes it the Martha Stewart of horror and just as boring. “Look at this lettuce the Critters are eating. Aren’t the leaves beautiful?” No Martha. No they’re not. The movie ends, Charlie decides to stay in KS and continue protecting the townsfolk, Brad ditches town because he and his denim are far too urban for this podunk village, and– after giving his girlfriend (Liane Curtis) the worst screen kiss ever– she tries to call John Hughes collect and beg him to re-cast her as Randy in a Sixteen Candles sequel– Twenty Candles— and thusly save her career. (Spoiler alert: he doesn’t pick up).
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The movie wins bonus points for continuing the original storyline, however poorly, and for giving us a dose of that adorable Critter cuteness– who wouldn’t want to buy a little pot-bellied Crite as a pet? However, it is too stupid to be actually entertaining, so if you see it at the metaphorical video store, you might want to roll on by.
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Rating: 
2 out of 5 Inflated Alien Chesticles
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279844-roxanne_kernohan_large  279844-roxanne_kernohan_large
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