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My Girl 2 Review

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Veda, (Chlumsky) decides to try and discover as much as she can about her mother who died when she was young. The investigation takes her to Los Angeles where she meets her late mother's friends who have a home video Veda might just be interested in.

★★★★★

Let's face it, the best thing about Howard Zieff's 1991 surprise hit My Girl was that crowd-pleasing scene where uberbrat Macaulay Culkin got stung to death by bees. While more agreeable overall, and not as ham-fisted a weepie as the original, this will be a lesser success purely because of the moppet megastar's absence. And that's a real shame for here's a rare item indeed, a genuinely ambitious sequel with real character development and a prime objective, rather than simply the reworkings of a familiar formula by the same team.

Despite being top-billed, Aykroyd and Curtis (whose characters are now married) act only as bookends to the central story, a voyage of self-discovery by 13-year-old Vada Sultenfuss (Chlumsky) when she decides to learn every fact about her deceased mother for a school project. The quest takes her to L.A., awkward meetings with her mother's old friends/lovers, and builds to a moving climax where she's shown home-movie footage of the parent she never knew.

All the feel-good bases are covered here — there's even romantic interest for Vada, courtesy of reluctant tour guide Austin O'Brien — a pleasant enough diversion which like the original manages to evoke a mid-70s period atmosphere without becoming a cyncially manipulative nostalgia fest.

Charm alone isn't often enough to carry an entire movie but this certainly has plenty to go round (Chlumsky's winning central performance included) and even to mask most of its deficiencies. Indeed, a lackadaisical pace notwith­standing, this is miles better than you think it's going to be.

Where the first My Girl suffered from being too cloyingly sweet, this one succeeds in having the engaging Chlumsky deal with heavy material and romance only playing a minor role, along with amusing turns from Akroyd and Curtis as the supportive dad and step-mother.

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