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There I am sitting in FOTB2 which is, when it all comes down to push and shove, about a man who is maybe 10 years older than I am... Who has had 20+ years of marriage, 2 kids, one of whom (the daughter) he has married off... And he's about to become a grandfather. Whereas I, your Cranky Critic, don't even have a girlfriend! I should have been depressed as hell. Thank God for Steve Martin because I sat there for most of the length of FOTB2 laughing. Laughing *hard*.
Is there a story here? You tell me. When it becomes evident that both Diane Keaton (as Mrs. Banks, the soon to be grandmother) and Kimberly Williams (as her daughter) are simultaneously pregnant... Are simultaneous labor and delivery in side by side delivery rooms only 90 minutes or so away?
It's not a story, it's an excuse for a Steve Martin solo-with- other-people comedy. This is as close as you're going to get a Martin one man act, and it's well worth the ticket price. Everything Martin's done before that you wanted to see again is here. Every facial expression, every physical shtick, including classic stuff like Happy Feet and a variation on Wild and Crazy Guy.
Many of the jokes are old, but the paying audience loved it. In the fully packed theater was a crowd of married couples, gratefully away from their kids. On a date, if you will. The couples that couldn't get a babysitter brought the kids with them. The ten year old behind me walked out emphatically saying I *loved* it! All the action on screen brought knowing reaction from the couples sitting all around me, because they had gone through it before. Those of us who have only experienced it second hand had our share of yucks, too.
Short reprises his role as Franck Egglehoffer, the designer with an
accent so thick we can't understand 90% of what he says. B.D. Wong
as Short's (life) partner has very little to do in this one, though. It's
interesting to me that no one went nuts over their over the top swish
portrayals. This allowed the producers to go nuts with other [fill in
the blank]-ist portrayals -- SCTV's Eugene Levy as an Arab-type.
A quartet of mixed races in a low-rider parodying East LA's gangs. Real
funny stuff, said friend of mine (Academy members), sarcastically.
And since a lot of the press material for FOTB2 has focussed on the house and the (again, over the top) design of the new baby's room, let's change topics and take a look at that for a second.
Words can't adequately describe the upper-class Republicanism of the house they live on. And the street that they live on. What is done to the baby's room is just unbelievable. Average people don't live like this.
The Banks' don't deal with HMOs because they don't even wait to see if labor pains are real before going to the hospital. This is a fantasy, which means when the Mrs. Banks and MacKenzie check into the hospital they get beautiful private rooms. There is no one else in labor on the same floor with them.
Indeed, the hospital is the only place where FOTB2 falls apart, because there is no applicable shtick that Martin can do. There is a heaping helping of schmaltz (oooo two babies!! and more that I won't give away) and yes, I do understand that feeling, having stood at the window looking at my just born nieces and nephews. But I don't believe that new father/grandfather Martin (and the rest of the family) would be allowed to stand in the hall outside the delivery rooms holding new born infants. In a private room, sure. In the hall, never.
Like I said, it's a fantasy. By the time it happens I felt like I've seen this before. And no one's ever done it better than Lucy and Ricky. And anyone who's ever dealt with an HMO knows you sit and wait and time the damned contractions 'cuz you only get ONE day in the hospital (so you had better wait until after midnight if it's evening time, because that *counts*) But FOTB2 is based on the screenplay for the original sequel done back in the 1950s, when a different type of Republican was in power.
That being said, who cares? This is a funny movie. And, for the most part, a helluva lot of fun.
I saw the first FOTB on an airplane which means they probably cut the really good parts out, because it was not nearly as funny as FOTB2. Pretty much as a rule I do not look forward to sequels because they never measure up, but this one does. I think most of the married with children couples in the theater where I saw it would happily pay the $8 price if given the choice.
Your humble servant, The Cranky Critic would fork over $6.75. More if he had a hot date...
[like with Kimberly Williams <sigh> for whom I'd gladly kick in another six bits.
Well, maybe a buck. <vbg>]
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