by Jack Sommersby
Came and went from theatres like a fully-clothed Pia Zadora star vehicle.The original Teen Wolf was a surprisingly enjoyable high-school comedy that Michael J. Fox made before attaining superstar status in Back to the Future, and if one is willing to overlook the dated clothes and hairstyles (oh, how that feathered hair makes one want to put on a Michael Bolton album!), it still holds up fairly well. For the uninitiated, Fox's Scott Howard discovered he was in a long line of family werewolves, and after his secret became known to the school and townspeople he became an overnight sensation -- a babe magnet and phenomenal player on the school's basketball team. With its engaging performances, above-average dialogue, standout soundtrack, and adroit directing, it became a mid-level box office success. Two years later there's Teen Wolf Too, with Jason Bateman instead of Fox in the lead role, which is one of the movie's numerous miscalculations. Bateman plays college freshman Todd Howard, the cousin of Scott, and like Scott he's a nondescript on campus until his true lupine self makes itself known. With smarts in biology and the (subconscious?) goal of becoming a veterinarian, he's received a full scholarship to the college thanks to the boxing coach, who was the basketball coach in the original and who thinks the puny Todd will be a standout in the ring because he comes from the same family tree as Scott. Following the original's story template play by play, Todd becomes exceedingly popular, ignores his unpopular friends and down-to-Earth love interest, excels spectacularly at his sport as long as it's the wolf and not Todd pummeling his opponents, and eventually learns to "be himself" and be judged for who he is rather than what he is. And, unfortunately, it all plays out as listlessly as I've described. Bateman, unlike the charming and alacritous Fox, is a bland lightweight devoid of both charisma and personality -- he's as close to a processed acting product as you can get. And because practically everyone in the supporting roles is just as substandard (especially the gruesome Stuart Fratkin, replacing the fine Jerry Levine as Scott's best pal Stiles), there aren't a whole lot of saving graces. The boxing sequences are of the ho-hum variety, the visual sight gags haven't an iota of wit, and the dreary dialogue ("I just had a beard over every inch of my body, fingernails the size of French fries, teeth from here to Texas, and she called me a dog.") offers up not so much as a single humorous one-liner. This is the first screenplay by R. Timothy Kring, and hopefully his last. Someone named Christopher Leitch directed, and he needn't have: in light of the poorly shaped scenes and mediocre compositions, a school crossing guard would've sufficed. Teen Wolf Too, a sequel deserving of a frat-boy mooning.Rent the original. Please.
"Gee, Another Sorry Sequel!"
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originally posted: 03/12/14 12:10:04