tek's rating:

My Girl 2 (PG)
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This came out in 1994, a little over two years after My Girl. I remember wanting to see it, and by the time I finally got it on DVD in 2015, I wasn't sure whether I actually had ever seen it or not. But when I watched it, I realized I hadn't. (I mean, unless my memory is a lot worse than I think it is.) Anyway, I wasn't expecting it to be nearly as good as the first movie (which I'm pretty sure I thought more highly of than most critics). And even the critics who liked the first movie thought this one was a lot worse. And honestly, there wasn't really anything I actively disliked about the sequel, but at the start, I was somewhat underwhelmed. However, as the plot progressed, my opinion of it improved. There was one point, near the end, where I thought it was actually at least as good as the original. Overall... it's not as good. But definitely better than I expected.

It's set in 1974. Harry and Shelly are now married, and Shelly is very pregnant. Meanwhile, Vada's class gets an assignment where each student must write an essay about someone who has achieved something important, but it has to be someone they've never met. Vada chooses her late mother, even though she doesn't really know much of anything about her. Shelly gets the idea that Vada should go to L.A., where she could stay with her uncle Phil for five days. (When I first heard that he had moved away from Pennsylvania, I took it as an excuse for him not to appear in the movie, the plot of which I knew nothing about. I'm glad I was wrong.) Vada's mother, Maggie, was originally from Los Angeles, so Vada wanted to meet with people who used to know her, to learn more about her.

When she arrives in L.A., she's greeted by a boy named Nick. The two of them are immediately antagonistic, so of course it's obvious that they will develop some kind of romantic interest in each other. (This is particularly presaged by an earlier event involving a boy whom a friend of Vada's liked.) Anyway, Nick is the son of a woman named Rose (played by Christine Ebersole, whom I basically know from Sullivan & Son, so I found it interesting to see her a couple decades younger). Rose is dating Phil, who works in the garage that she runs. And they live together, which means Vada will be staying with them. And during the course of her visit, Nick accompanies her on her search for anyone who used to know her mother. The first person they meet is a police sergeant (played by Keone Young, whom I mostly know for his voice work). Then they meet a photographer. And they meet with a few other people, concluding with a man named Jeffrey Pommeroy. I don't want to spoil any details of the things that Vada learns about her mother. But I will say that what I liked about this movie is... in a way, it's actually more important than the first movie. I mean, the quality may not be quite as high, but the thing is... both movies are rather memorably about death. The first movie has two deaths, one of which happened long ago, and one which happened to a character who actually appears in the film. The sequel is more about the person who died long ago (Vada's mother). And while I wouldn't dream of minimizing the significance of the more recent death from the first movie, I think the death of her mother (whom she never knew) had a more profound impact on her. So it's appropriate to see her quest in this movie, not just for some school assignment, but... hell, I shouldn't have to explain it. Anyway, I just found the end result of her search to be very emotional, very moving.

Well, other stuff happens. There's a subplot about Phil and Rose's relationship being threatened by a doctor who takes an interest in Rose after coming to the garage for an oil change (and keeps coming back for contrived reasons). And there's the relationship between Vada and Nick, though actually not much happens with that. (As with the first movie, I have to question whether the title is particularly apt. Vada is never even remotely "Nick's girl," even if there are some fairly cute developments, by the end of the movie. It's never really important. I suppose just as I thought the title in the first movie could apply to Vada being her father's girl, in this movie it could apply to her being her mother's girl. Which actually... is part of the reason I chose to put the review under "coming of age" instead of "period pieces." Mainly it's because I wanted the reviews to be in the same category, but in part it's because "coming of age" isn't about a single event or a single age, and I think the quest to learn about her mother was at least as big a part of Vada's coming of age as was her first kiss- and other events- in the original movie.) And eventually, Vada goes back home, and meets her baby brother. And I guess I don't know what else to tell you. Both movies aim squarely for the feels, and I believe both movies hit the mark.

coming of age index