My Girl 2
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the main character lost her mother at a young age and her best friend more recently, and her father is an undertaker, so there is a rather large shadow of death over the story. A stepmother is affectionate, understanding, and loving. Two young teens sneak out at night unaccompanied, and a girl gets her ears pierced without asking permission.
What's the story?
A follow-up to tearjerker My Girl, MY GIRL 2 finds Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) two years older and preparing to be a big sister for the baby her stepmom (Jamie Lee Curtis) and dad (Dan Aykroyd) are expecting. A school assignment piques Vada's interest in learning more about her mother, who died when Vada was an infant. Soon she's traveling cross-country to stay with Uncle Phil (Richard Masur) in L.A. and being shown around town by Nick (Austin O'Brien), the son of Phil's live-in girlfriend. Nick helps Vada uncover the trail her mom left as a young woman in Los Angeles, and with the discovery of each of her mom's old friends, Vada's closer to the truth. But does she really want to know it?
Is it any good?
For sheer emotional oomph, the original My Girl is a hard act to follow, despite the return of its top-notch cast in this so-so sequel. Vada's interest in knowing more about her mom is understandable, and the storytelling that pulls back the curtain on Maggie Muldovan's (Angeline Ball) life is well-conceived. Not one but two loving families are depicted, and when the kids break the rules and parents have to punish them, the kids are sincerely apologetic. Set in 1974, the costumes, sets, and soundtrack really ground Vada's story in the time it was set.
But in the end, just putting the same characters together back on screen can't create chemistry if the story doesn't grab the listener. And this story is slow and sometimes predictable. It's nice to see Vada mature as a daughter and friend, and the awakening of her first romantic feelings are sweet, but ultimately the only one with a stake in Maggie Muldovan's story is Vada herself. Given the twin subject matter of adolescent romance and a parent's death (and secrets,) this movie is best targeted at the 11 and up crowd.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Vada's homework assignment: if you had to write about someone you'd never met who you admire, who would you choose? How would you research that person? Do you think Vada should tell her father about her mother's secret some day?