“Fanny, look, snakes only come out like that once a year.”
The Scoop: 1984 PG, directed by Ken Wiederhorn and starring John Mengatti, John Larroquette, and Paul Reubens
Tagline: The insanity continues…
Summary Capsule: It’s kids doing wacky stuff at a wacky camp but completely failing to make you laugh.
Justin’s rating: The summer is dead. You have killed it. Happy now?
Justin’s review: Nobody will argue that 1979’s Meatballs was high culture and sophistication. It was Bill Murray being Bill Murray in the middle of a summer camp setting. But the important thing? It was quotable and pretty darn funny. That’s all it really had to be. And that’s what its in-name-only sequel, Meatballs Part II, is not.
Obviously, after five years they weren’t going to get Ivan Reitman and Bill Murray back, but there was no attempt by the filmmakers here to continue anything from the first movie other than to set it at a summer camp. And it’s not even the SAME summer camp! But continuation of a franchise is the least of our worries when we’re treated to stilted writing and acting that has the same delivery of a sub-par play, a non-existent plot, and and obvious attempt to capitalize off of the Porky’s teen sex movie craze of the time.
However, being PG, Meatballs Part II straddles a really weird line of wanting to be all risqué but not being able to do or show or even talk much about it. Characters talk in awe about things like “pinkies” since apparently the word “penis” wasn’t invented until 1988. There’s also a few chaste kisses, a pair of counselors who are constantly trying (and failing) to find a make-out spot, and a clueless female counselor who is proof that both the public school system and her parents have failed to educate her about reproduction.
But it’s hard to get that risqué when the other half of the movie has to do with little kids and a rivalry with a military camp across the lake (all summer camps come standard with an evil contemporary across the lake). Then there’s — and I am not making this up — the appearance of an alien named Meathead who starts attending camp to get his “Earth merit badge.” Because if you’re trying to rip off Porky’s, why not E.T. as well? Meathead is just the worst alien model ever, kind of a lump of melted wax that can’t move other than blink its eyes. C’mon guys, you couldn’t spring for a mouth flap that goes up and down while he talks?
Probably the only reason that this movie is known at all is that both John Larroquette and Paul Reubens are in it, although they both have bit parts instead of taking the lead and they aren’t that amusing.
Meatballs Part II is constantly throwing jokes your way and missing spectacularly, mostly because they’re handled in broad, wink-wink ways that make you just embarassed to have witnessed them. The whole production crashes into a goofy mess at the end, as one of the male counselors wears a woman’s dress (for a reason that is NEVER EXPLAINED IN THE MOVIE) to box Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds. Naturally, Meathead uses his alien powers to make him fly to victory and nobody is much amazed by this. And then his dress is ripped off and the girls get to see what a pinky looks like. The end.
Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why.
Jamie: Fanny please, I love them!
Jamie: Uh, I mean you…
Jamie: Nobody knows we’re here. This is a great place.
Fanny: Not like that spot last summer?
Jamie: Uh, no. No, no, no.
Fanny: All those kids! All those flashbulbs!
Jamie: Uh, no. No, no, no.
Fanny: Or that time down at the lake?
Jamie: Fanny, look, snakes only come out like that once a year.
Flash: Hi, girls. What’s happening? My name’s Flash, what’s yours?
Nancy: Don’t talk to him, Cheryl, he’s a dork.
Flash: I’m not a dork, I’m Italian!
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