Uh oh here comes puberty
Unlike many I wasn't that wowed by the first "My Girl" movie and to be honest there was really only 3 things which I liked, the soundtrack, Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis. Well to be honest they are only the 3 things which I like from "My Girl 2" as well, a seriously functional and cheesy movie. The trouble is that whilst there is still a very good nostalgic soundtrack, Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis are under used, pretty much there to bookend the movie. And what happens in between starts as one thing, ends up something completely different and unfortunately veers towards the cheesy.
With Harry (Dan Aykroyd) and Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis) expecting their first child it looks like it could be a summer of growing up for Vada (Anna Chlumsky). But when she is given a school assignment to write about someone she's never met she chooses her mother. Having headed off to L.A. to spend summer with her Uncle Phil (Richard Masur) whilst researching who her mother was, Vada discovers quite a few surprises making her question who she truly is and at the same time makes friends with Nick (Austin O'Brien), the son of Rose Zsigmond (Christine Ebersole) who lives with her Uncle Phil.
The way "My Girl 2" starts isn't that bad with Vada a few years older and starting to experience the ups and downs of teenage life and this combines with Harry and Shelly expecting a baby. It leads you to believe that "My Girl 2" will be a functional movie which gives lessons in growing up, accepting changes, first love and so on and if it had focussed on these elements it could have turned out quite good. But "My Girl 2" constructs a storyline around a writing assignment and Vada heading off to L.A. to learn about her mother.
The problem is that this storyline whilst throwing up the semi issue about dealing with the unknown and past seems to float around not really going anywhere. Even when it reaches the climax with Vada learning some surprises about her mother, making her question who she is it still doesn't seem to have any major impact. Actually that's a lie because as this storyline progresses it gets cheesy, seriously cheesy, culminating in one of the most corniest moments I have had the misfortune to witness in a movie and if you couldn't see it coming, as Vada and Nick spend time trying to discover the past, then you haven't seen enough movies. Tie this in with a romantic storyline surround Vada's Uncle Phil and "My Girl 2" ends up awash in cheese.
It doesn't help that with Vada heading off to L.A., Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis end up as just bookends for the movie. They are one of the better things about both the movies and the comical relationship and interactions really are quite good fun. But nope we get roughly an hour of movie with out them which focuses on Vada and as such that quirky comedy is sadly lacking. Richard Masur as Uncle Phil does his best to fill in for Dan Aykroyd but it's all too obvious and not as funny.
What this means is that "My Girl 2" relies heavily on Anna Chlumsky as Vada to carry the movie and although she manages to deliver cute, inquisitive, vulnerable and also strong in the space of 99 minutes by the end of the movie you are glad it's over. It doesn't help that Austin O'Brien as her companion Nick seems so cheesed off that his input doesn't work and yes I know that Nick is meant to be your typical teenage boy who doesn't want to spend his summer with some girl, but the interactions needed to be more believable to make it work.
The saving grace once more is a very good nostalgic soundtrack which literally fills the background in almost every scene. Some musical moments are better than others and sadly the big climax song "Smile" just ends up adding to the cheesiness, not because of the song which is brilliant, but is overplayed in a scene which was screaming out for a more subtle touch.
What this all boils down to is that "My Girl 2" seems a little confused with it starting as if we are going to have a movie which will help teenagers grow up through some cleverly raised points, only for it to turn into a meandering story of Vada trying to discover her past. It doesn't work and most annoyingly it spirals into a corny mess with a series of final scenes which are so cheesy it's painful. And although Richard Masur does his best his comedy is not a patch on that of Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis who sadly are used to bookend the movie.