Total Recall

10 Truly Terrible Part Twos

With Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 in theaters this week, we look back at some second installments that weren't warmly received.

by | April 15, 2015 | Comments

People love to laugh at Segways, mall cops, and mustaches, and the box office receipts for 2009’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop offer more than $180 million worth of proof. This weekend, Kevin James jumps back into the line of fire in the descriptively titled Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and although we applaud him for refusing to argue with success, we somehow doubt critics will be willing to give this movie the same amount of slack — and with that in mind, we went about assembling a list of some of the worst-reviewed Number Twos in cinematic history. Roll up your sleeves and hold your nose, because we’re droppin’ deuces Total Recall style!

Caddyshack II (1988) 4%

Caddyshack is a comedy classic that virtually hums with the madcap energy thrown off by director Harold Ramis and his incredible cast, a marvelously motley bunch that included Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase. Naturally, the sequel brought back virtually no one who’d been involved the first time around, limiting the classic Caddyshack vibes to a supporting appearance from Chase and a new song from Kenny Loggins on the soundtrack. This might not have been such a bad thing if these crucial absences had been filled by the right people or a suitably funny storyline, but director Allan Arkush was presented with a cobbled-together script that virtually reprised the original and asked Jackie Mason to serve as a Dangerfield facsimile with Robert Stack as Knight’s proxy. Audiences saw through the flimsy carbon copy and so did critics; the result was, as Steven Rea wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer, “a sight not to behold.”

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005) 6%

20th Century Fox had 190 million reasons for making a sequel to 2003’s Cheaper by the Dozen, but none of them had anything to do with unanswered questions or compelling plot lines left dangling in the story’s conclusion — as amply demonstrated throughout 2005’s Cheaper by the Dozen 2, which reunited much of the original cast (including Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt in the increasingly thankless roles of bumbling family patriarch and matriarch) in order to pit them against another comically outsized brood led by Eugene Levy and Carmen Electra. Audiences turned out again, but critics were unmoved. “Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is so incredibly bland and by the numbers it’s painful to watch,” seethed ComingSoon’s Joshua Starnes. “It’s just a collection of unfunny moments that are both uninteresting and annoying.”

Daddy Day Camp (2007) 1%

Here is where we pause for a moment to consider the career trajectory of Cuba Gooding, Jr., whose Academy Award for Jerry Maguire was followed by appearances in a string of increasingly ill-advised duds that grew to include Snow Dogs, Boat Trip, and the Razzie-winning Radio — and reached its arguable nadir with 2007’s Daddy Day Camp. A sequel to 2003’s Eddie Murphy-led Daddy Day Care, only without Murphy or anyone else viewers might have remembered from that film, it was essentially an excuse to film 89 minutes of our beleaguered Oscar-winning hero mugging for the camera and/or getting whacked in the family jewels. “Never work with children or animals,” warned the BBC’s Jamie Russell. “Unless you’re a child or an animal, in which case, never work with Cuba Gooding, Jr.”

Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991) 0%

The original Highlander, starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery as members of an immortal race who travel around the world chopping each other’s heads off, offered the sort of delightfully preposterous sci-fi/fantasy fun that only comes from hiring a legendary Scottish actor to play a character named Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez. Cult status naturally followed, making 1991’s Highlander II: The Quickening something of a foregone conclusion; alas, the scatterbrained script — which begins with Lambert’s character promising his dying wife that he’ll fix a hole in the ozone layer and only gets weirder and more convoluted from there — made these Highlander hijinks all but impossible to enjoy. “Highlander 2: The Quickening is the most hilariously incomprehensible movie I’ve seen in many a long day,” wrote Roger Ebert, deeming it “a movie almost awesome in its badness.”

S. Darko (2009) 13%

Eight years after Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko started its journey to cult classic status, the story continued with S. Darko — a sequel that Kelly publicly informed fans he had absolutely nothing to do with. Without his singular vision dreaming up new narrative twists and turns, things turned out about as well as one might expect; although Daveigh Chase returned to reprise her role as Samantha Darko, the movie around her had trace amounts of the form and little of the function that propelled the original to midnight movie glory. “I love Donnie Darko. It is ominous, funny, replete with … well-observed moments,” wrote Jordan Hoffman for UGO. “S. Darko is a callous attempt to cash in on its well-earned appreciation.”

Son of the Mask (2005) 6%

The poster’s tagline promised “the next generation of mischief,” but Son of the Mask was really just another feeble attempt by a studio to cash in on a hit movie by filming a sequel without the involvement of the original star. Part of the same glum tradition as such afternoon basic cable schedule-fillers as Smokey and the Bandit Part III, Curse of the Pink Panther, and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, 2005’s Son of the Mask vainly attempts to wring madcap laughs out of a story involving a sad-sack cartoonist (Jamie Kennedy) who stumbles into possession of the same magical totem from The Mask and ends up siring a son who’s been gifted with the power of Loki. It’s all very silly without ever being funny — kind of like the notion that a sequel to The Mask would make money without Jim Carrey. “Sequels without their original stars are usually sent direct to video. Some deserve better,” observed Garth Franklin for Dark Horizons. “This isn’t one of those.”

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) 4%

It’s pretty much a given that the reviews for a sequel will be more unkind than those for its predecessor, but even in the context of the law of diminishing returns, Speed 2: Cruise Control is an appalling anomaly: its 3 percent Tomatometer stands in almost inverse opposition to the 93 percent that Speed earned in 1994. Of course, given that the original was a standalone story that did absolutely nothing to ask for a sequel (besides earning hundreds of millions of dollars), it stood to reason that critics and viewers would be less than excited by the prospect of another chapter — especially given that Speed star Keanu Reeves bowed out, leaving co-star Sandra Bullock to muddle her way through a thankless follow-up that put her and new male lead Jason Patric on a boat (instead of a bus) trying to foil madman Willem Dafoe (instead of Dennis Hopper). “Speed cost something like $30 million; this sequel cost four times as much,” pointed out the A.V. Club’s Stephen Thompson. “So why is it such a feeble, aimless piece of junk in comparison?”

Staying Alive (1983) 0%

There’s something almost noble about the way this belated and belabored follow-up to Saturday Night Fever came together — not only in the face of common sense and good taste, but well beyond the box-office run of the original and the shelf life of the musical trend that turned the soundtrack into such a sensation. All of which is to say that a Fever sequel in 1983 probably wouldn’t have been a big hit no matter what, but when you add into the equation Sylvester Stallone directing from a script he co-wrote, a storyline that does essentially nothing with main character Tony Manero (John Travolta), and a soundtrack album whose second side consists of songs written and/or recorded by Stallone’s brother Frank… well, you’ve got yourself one of the biggest, sweatiest dancefloor duds of the decade. “It all amounts,” wrote TV Guide’s Movie Guide, “to an embarrassing show of unrestrained, Hollywood-style egomania.”

The Sting II (1983) 0%

How do you go from winning seven Academy Awards and racking up nearly $160 million (in 1973!) to getting universally dumped on by critics and eking out less than $7 million with your follow-up? Well, you can start by taking 10 years between movies, ditching the original’s stars, and basing the sequel on a script that — while written by the fellow responsible for the first installment — mistakes intricate wit for thick exposition and club-footed twists. Case in point: The Sting II, which attempted to recapture the magic of The Sting by subbing in Jackie Gleason and Mac Davis for Robert Redford and Paul Newman. That’s probably all anyone needs to say about this limp retread, but let us close by quoting a few words of backhanded praise from Radio Times’ Tom Hutchinson, who wrote, “Oliver Reed and Karl Malden are welcome presences, and Teri Garr is the winner on all feminine counts, but this isn’t enough to save it.”

Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004) 0%

Jon Voight is a very famous, highly respected actor, but he also has bills to pay, which may explain how he ended up alongside Scott Baio and Vanessa Angel playing second fiddle to a diaper-clad quartet in Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2. Then again, if you take Voight at his word, he chose the project because “When you look around the world, everybody’s really in a fearful state in some way, and kids are getting that, they’re getting that fear, and they need to be given a kind of empowerment in some sense” — but no, you know what? We prefer the “bills to pay” explanation. Either way, this alleged action comedy about an evil media mogul who’s out to kidnap four freakishly smart toddlers has gone down as one of the more shockingly awful stinkers to seep out of Hollywood in recent memory — as well as, sadly, the final effort from Porky’s director Bob Clark. “The first Baby Geniuses, released in 1999, was one of the most inane, humorless, ill-conceived, poorly acted comedies of the year,” wrote Jean Oppenheimer for the New Times. “As difficult as it is to imagine, the sequel is even worse.”


Finally, here’s a clip from one of the most infamous part twos of all time:

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