MOVIE REVIEW : 'Critters 2": Once More With Even Less Taste

A movie motto for the '80s: Anything worth doing badly is worth doing again--especially if it made money. "Critters 2: The Main Course" (citywide) is a sequel to "Critters"--the 1986 horror-comedy and "Gremlins" knockoff, and though it's somewhat better than its predecessor, largely through sheer directorial and photographic panache, it's still pretty disreputable and mindless.

In the original "Critters," wildly ravenous porcupine bowling balls from outer space besieged a TV sitcom family for an entire evening, while munching up everything in sight. In the sequel, even more of these ravenous porcupine bowling balls--called "Krites"--suddenly hatch from leathery looking eggs left in somebody's barn. They proceed to roam the countryside, chomping up dogs, people, cows, a policeman in an Easter Bunny suit, a warehouse full of cheeseburgers and the salad bar at the local Hungry Heifer fast-food emporium.

While the Krites engage in this culinary rampage, they're hunted down by three extraterrestrial bounty hunters, one of whom has transformed itself into the image of a Playboy centerfold--complete with stapled navel. By dawn, very little is left unmunched. But still these gruesome, famished little whozits roll on madly, searching for a way to somehow end the movie.

Eating the camera has somehow not occurred to them.

Director-co-writer Mick Garris has worked for Steven Spielberg on "Amazing Stories," and cinematographer Russell Carpenter is a good one. In "Critters 2" (MPAA-rated PG-13 for violence and language), they create some glossily funny sendups of neurotic middle America.

But a question remains: Why should anyone bother watching a movie about crazed, dubiously motivated, foul-mouthed furballs chewing up a small town? Well, millions did before--certainly more than watched Michelangelo Antonioni's last movie--and who are we to argue with taste? If the public wants to watch starving, ill-mannered porcupine bowling balls from outer space, eating up defenseless morons--by gosh, they deserve them.


A New Line Cinema/SHO Films presentation. Producer Barry Opper. Director Mick Garris. Script D. T. Twohy, Garris. Camera Russell Carpenter. Production design Philip Dean Foreman. Editor Charles Bornstein. Music Nicholas Pike. With Scott Grimes, Liane cqCurtis, Don Opper, Barry Corbin, Terrence Mann.

Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes.

MPAA rating: PG-13 (parents are strongly cautioned; some material may be inappropriate for children under 13).

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