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  Teen Wolf Too Wolf Man On CampusBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: Christopher Leitch
Stars: Jason Bateman, Kim Darby, John Astin, Paul Sand, James Hampton, Mark Holton, Estee Chandler, Robert Neary, Stuart Fratkin, Beth Miller, Rachel Sharp, David Burton, William H. Burton, Kathleen Freeman
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Rating:  3 (from 2 votes)
Review: Todd Howard (Jason Bateman) is beginning his freshman year at college, but the dean (John Astin) has high hopes for him, not academically but in the field of sport. This is because Todd's cousin made a name for himself in that area, being prestigiously talented at basketball, and Dean Dunn hopes that such prowess runs in the family. But that's not all that runs in the family, as the reason Todd's cousin was so adept was that he is a werewolf, something that the relation hopes has skipped a generation. As he is driven to his dorm by his uncle Harold (James Hampton), he tells him that he wishes to be known for his intellectual pursuits, but things don't quite work out that way...

For an instant hit of eighties nostalgia, look no further than the Michael J. Fox-starring Teen Wolf, a cheerfully brainless update of I Was a Teenage Werewolf recreated as a light comedy. For the antidote to that, look no further than its unnecessary sequel, which Fox declined to appear in, and why not as it was pretty much exactly the same film, except without the joie de vivre and frankly the sheer enjoyment of seeing a notion so daft carried off with such merriment. Bateman has gone on to prove himself a highly skilled comic actor, but fans of Arrested Development would be advised to stay away from this lest their admiration be dented.

Not that Bateman is terrible in this, it's just he seems the wrong actor for the role as if anything he comes across as embarrassed to be there, almost silently acknowledging the poor quality of the enterprise as he gamely makes his way through the laugh-free plot. So instead of basketball we have boxing, which turns the finale into something out of a Rocky movie, only without the sense of uplift and inspiration, as inspiration is notably lacking throughout. Screenwriter Tim Kring, who would go onto create sci-fi television show Heroes, was evidently given the script of the first one and ordered to change a few names, alter a few scenes, but more or less leave everything the same.

The result of that is a production that gives carbon copies a bad name, and as if everyone is well aware they are going through the motions there is not a spark of life in the whole film as the characters grow increasingly dejected. Once Todd has turned into the wolfman, which takes a very long time incidentally - not the actual transformation, it takes ages for any special makeup effects to become apparent - he turns into a celebrity on the campus, then it all goes to his head and he is the biggest "jerk" around. This means he brings all the others down, and his party hard friends opt to return to their studies and revising, and the nice girl Nicki (Jennifer Beals lookalike Estee Chandler) rejects him.

So for a comedy this has a decidedly miserable tone about it, and not only because if you had seen the first one you know exactly how this will turn out so the feeling of going over the same ground in worse conditions never leaves you. They do their best to kid themselves they're having fun in this, with a montage set around Todd driving a fast car and picking up girls, and even a singalong which must count as one of the least exciting ever put on film, this despite Bateman leading the chorus in full wolfman mode and sliding down a cable over the heads of the suspiciously well-trained dancing extras. It's a pity that this lot, most of whom have proven themselves elsewhere as perfectly capable, could not have seen their skills applied to fresher material. Music by Mark Goldenberg.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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