Problem Child 2
|Problem Child 2|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Levant|
|Produced by||Robert Simonds|
|Written by||Scott Alexander|
|Music by||David Kitay|
|Edited by||Lois Freeman-Fox|
Robert P. Seppey
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$32.7 million|
Problem Child 2 is a 1991 American comedy film and a sequel to the 1990 film Problem Child; a continuation of the exploits of Junior (Michael Oliver), an adopted orphan boy who deliberately wreaks comedic havoc everywhere he goes. John Ritter returns as his adopted father, Ben Healy. Amy Yasbeck, who played Ben's wife, Flo, in the first movie, also returns, as school nurse Annie Young. It was produced by Robert Simonds, who also produced the first one. It was rated PG-13, unlike its predecessor, which was rated PG.
The film did not fare as well as its predecessor, although it became a success at the box office. It was beat out by another sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which was released on the same day.
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Following Ben's divorce from Flo, he and Junior move from Cold River, Illinois to Mortville, Oregon, a quiet community, as a way to start over. Before they arrive at their new house, Junior sees a girl roller skating on the sidewalk with a balloon, and pops it with his sling shot, laughing at her as he goes by. Ben and Junior arrive at their new house, and moments later, dozens of women line up in their front yard, all wanting to date Ben.
When Junior starts his first day of third grade, he sees that Igor Peabody (Gilbert Gottfried), the adoption agent from the first film, happens to be the principal at his new school, having moved to Mortville to start fresh as well. Igor panics at the sight of Junior and promptly promotes him to the sixth grade. There Junior meets Murph (Eric Edwards), the school bully who's incapable of learning, and gets on his bad side when he tapes him to the chalkboard. Murph retaliates by trying to drop the school's satellite dish on Junior, but it misses him and hits Ben instead, knocking him out. When he comes to, he sees the school nurse, Annie Young, and becomes smitten with her. Junior, annoyed at Ben's sudden love interest, retaliates by attempting to draw a mustache on Annie's picture hanging in the hall, only to be foiled by Trixie (Ivyann Schwan), the girl whose balloon he popped earlier. Throughout the film, they engage in an escalating prank war.
Ben decides to date again to find a new wife and mother, but Junior is against it. His first date is with Debbie Claukinski (Charlene Tilton) a divorced woman whose former husband, Voytek (Zach Grenier) is a slob, eats dog food, and is insanely jealous. Ben hires a babysitter named Rhoda to look after Junior. Unfortunately, she is an irresponsible slob who eats junk food and watches a TV documentary on pigs. After she insults Junior, he calls Voytek and tells him about Debbie's date, causing him to storm to the restaurant where she and Ben are. He gets into a fight with Ben, but this only causes Debbie to have a change of heart about him.
Back at the house, Rhoda's scuzzy boyfriend shows up on his motorcycle and they decide to have sex in the master bedroom. Junior uses Ben's video camera to tape them doing so, and puts on a movie showcase on the front of the house for the whole neighborhood to see.
While Ben is driving home, Debbie and Voytek ferociously make out in the passenger seat, and Ben sees several cars parked in his driveway, along with the whole neighborhood watching Rhoda and her boyfriend having sex. He is shocked and reminds Junior they're new in the neighborhood and need to attempt to fit in. Afterward, Ben's father, Big Ben Healy (Jack Warden) and his dog, Nippy, arrive to live with them after he loses all of his money in a bad investment. Ben's second date is with Emily (Martha Quinn), and Junior rewires the doorbell and she gets electrocuted. Ben is shocked at her appearance, and she falls face first onto the ground after Ben closes the door.
Around the same time, LaWanda DuMore (Laraine Newman), the richest, snootiest, kid-hating woman in Mortville, takes an interest in Ben, much to Junior's chagrin. While Ben and Junior are gone for the day, she redecorates the house to impress Ben. Meanwhile, Ben and Junior go to a carnival where he's too short to get on a ride called the Crazy Dance. After being taunted by Trixie and Murph, Junior speeds up the ride causing everyone on it to puke. Junior, upon learning LaWanda has redecorated his room with a clown theme (which he despises), retaliates by ruining a dinner she makes by putting live cockroaches in it. Afterwards, she tells him that when she is his mother she will send him to boarding school in Baghdad. He tries to tell Ben this, but he refuses to believe him, saying he's no longer credible.
While at a school function, Ben sees the puppet show go awry. He stops, it but is surprised to see it was Trixie ruining it. It is also revealed that Annie is her mother. Annie rushes to take her home. Ben tries to tell her he understands what it is like raising a problem child and thinks they can help one another. She tells him she likes him, but if they date, Trixie's behavior will only get worse. He proposes to LaWanda, believing she is the only woman who will marry him.
By a chance meeting in a pizza restaurant, Ben, Annie, Junior, and Trixie dine together and have a good time, even after the food fight that the kids start with Igor and his girlfriend gets them thrown out and banned from the restaurant. Junior and Trixie apologize and decide their parents should date. He tries to stop the wedding by switching LaWanda's blood sample with that of a rabid dog. While celebrating her engagement to Ben, she gets cake icing on her face, which bears a striking resemblance to foaming at the mouth (a symptom of rabies). As a result, she is handcuffed by animal control officers and sent to the hospital for observation.
At the altar, Trixie shows up operating a bulldozer with the Love Rock and LaWanda gets trapped underneath it. Ben tells Annie she's the one he really wants, and tells Big Ben to marry LaWanda himself, which he does. Junior uses his sling shot with Trixie's firecracker, causing the cake to blast off and land on LaWanda and Big Ben.
- John Ritter as Benjamin "Ben" Healy, Jr.
- Michael Oliver as Junior Healy
- Jack Warden as Benjamin "Big Ben" Healy, Sr.
- Laraine Newman as LaWanda Dumore
- Amy Yasbeck as Annie Young
- Ivyann Schwan as Trixie Young
- Gilbert Gottfried as Igor Peabody
- Paul Willson as Smith, LaWanda's assistant
- Bob Smith as Father Flanagan
- Alan Blumenfeld as Aron Burger
- Krystle Mataras as Dolly
- Tiffany Mataras as Madison
- Charlene Tilton as Debbie Claukinski
- Kristina Simonds as Rhoda
- Eric Edwards as Murph
- Aaron Vaughn as Rhoda's boyfriend
- James Tolkan as Mr. Thorn
- Martha Quinn as Emily
- Zach Grenier as Voytek
- June Foray as Puppet (voice)
In 2014, during an interview on Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski revealed that the studio was reluctant to rehire them, only doing so because they wanted to shoot a sequel before Michael Oliver could noticeably grow and, as the writers of the first film, could produce a script quicker than writers new to the story and characters.
Frustrated with the criticisms of the first one, they deliberately increased the poor taste in the film, intending to make a Pasolini or John Waters film for children, and went so far overboard that the first cut received an R rating from the MPAA, a secret kept until their 2014 appearance on the podcast. Dubbing over Junior's use of the term "pussy-whipped" got it a PG-13 rating on appeal, but the studio was still so nervous that, at the last minute, they added the 1947 Woody Woodpecker cartoon Smoked Hams to its theatrical release, to reassure parents that it was suitable for children.
The film did not fare as well as the first one, earning half as much at the U.S. box-office. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 7% of 27 surveyed critics gave it a positive review; the average rating was 2.4/10. The sites consensus read: "Crude, rude, puerile, and pointless, Problem Child 2 represents a cynical nadir in family-marketed entertainment."
- Haithman, Diane (1992-04-23). "'Problem Child' Part III -- The Courtroom : Movies: Universal takes film's child star to court in a bitter contract dispute over his salary for the sequel". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
- "Problem Child 2". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-29. Retrieved 2014-12-29.
- "Problem Child 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-06-30.