Problem Child 2
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.
|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|
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 the quiet community of Mortville, Oregon, to start over. Moments after they arrive, dozens of women line up in their front yard, all wanting to date Ben.
On Junior's first day of third grade, he finds that Igor Peabody (Gilbert Gottfried), the adoption agent from the first film, is the principal at his new school. Igor panics and promptly promotes Junior to sixth grade. There, Junior meets Murph (Eric Edwards), the school bully, and gets on his bad side when he tapes him to the chalkboard. Murph retaliates by dropping the school's satellite dish on Junior, but it misses him and hits Ben instead, knocking him out. When Ben comes to, he sees the school nurse, Annie Young, and becomes smitten with her. Junior, annoyed at Ben's sudden love interest, attempts to vandalize Annie's picture hanging in the hall, only to be foiled by Trixie (Ivyann Schwan). 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. He thwarts Ben's first date by phoning her jealous former husband, who storms into the restaurant and picks a fight with Ben. Junior also videotapes his irresponsible babysitter having sex with her boyfriend and broadcasts it to the entire neighborhood. Ben reminds Junior they're new in town and must 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 goes even worse when Junior rewires the doorbell, and she gets electrocuted.
Around the same time, LaWanda DuMore (Laraine Newman), the richest, snootiest, kid-hating woman in Mortville, takes an interest in Ben. While Ben and Junior are gone, she redecorates the house to impress Ben.
Meanwhile, Ben and Junior go to a carnival. After being taunted by Trixie and Murph for being too short for a ride, Junior speeds it up, causing everyone to puke. A disappointed Ben makes Junior promise to behave.
However, when Junior learns that LaWanda redecorated his room with a despised clown theme, he puts live cockroaches in her dinner. Afterward, she threatens to send him to boarding school in Baghdad when she is his mother. He tries to tell Ben this, but Ben refuses to believe him, saying Junior is no longer credible.
At a school function, a puppet show goes awry. Ben is surprised to see Trixie, not Junior, was behind it, and that Annie is her mother. Ben tries to tell Annie he understands what it is like raising a problem child and thinks they can help one another. She acknowledges she likes him, but if they date, Trixie's behavior will only get worse. Ben 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 gets them banned from the restaurant. Junior and Trixie apologize and decide their parents should date.
Junior tries to stop the wedding by switching LaWanda's blood sample with that of a rabid dog. Handcuffed by animal control and sent to the hospital for observation, LaWanda is more determined than ever that the wedding go on.
Junior then switches LaWanda's chart again with a patient having surgery to enlarge his nose, believing it'll make LaWanda so ugly that Ben won't want to marry her.
The night before the wedding, Junior and Trixie make a wish at the town Love Rock that their parents will get together.
At the altar, LaWanda reveals she had last-minute plastic surgery to fix her nose. Just then, Trixie appears operating a bulldozer with the Love Rock, and LaWanda, revealing herself as a child hater (which Ben realizes that Junior was telling the truth about her), gets trapped underneath. Ben tells Annie she's the one he really wants and suggests Big Ben should marry LaWanda himself, which he does. Junior puts Trixie's firecracker in his slingshot, causing the cake to blast off and land on LaWanda and Big Ben.
- Michael Oliver as Junior Healy
- Ivyann Schwan as Trixie Young
- John Ritter as Benjamin "Ben" Healy Jr.
- Jack Warden as Benjamin "Big Ben" Healy Sr.
- Laraine Newman as LaWanda Dumore
- Amy Yasbeck as Annie 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.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Problem Child 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-06-30.