THE REEL DEAL RATING SYSTEM

* Find your Casa Video card if you ever want to see this movie

** Even a rerun of "Melrose Place" is better than this

*** A laugh, a cry, kiss $7 goodbye

**** Oops, I blinked, rewind

***** Better than sex

Once again, the irrepressible summer sequel rears its ugly head in the form of "City Slickers 2, The Legend of Curly's Gold," and "Beverly Hills Cop 3."

Why, I ask myself, can movie executives not leave a good thing alone? No, they must mash and mutilate a great original movie into pathetic sequels (like Rocky 2,3,4,5, Karate Kid 2,3 need I say more?), all for the sake of money. I mean, was the first $100 million they made not sufficient enough? My guess is that greed overtook them and led them to churn out pop-tart sequels with heinous plots, dreadful acting and bland writing.

The worst part is that movie executives release these sequels during the summer, when we supposedly have the most free time, and then they expect us to digest these sequels happily over canola-oil popcorn and M&M's. I'm here to tell you that the only way to avoid indigestion watching these sequels is with a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, extra strength, cherry flavor.

Beverly Hills Cop 3

Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) once again returns to Beverly Hills. This time, he is in search of the counterfeit thieves who shot his beloved Detroit police captain, Douglas Todd (Gil Hill). Axel's investigation leads him to Uncle Dave's Wonderworld, a joyful Disneyland where the counterfeit money production is taking place.

Murphy embarks on his usual one-man vigilante team as he hunts down the villains responsible for his captain's death and takes down their counterfeit operation.

Sadly, Murphy has lost his shine. His usual wisecracking jokes and antics seem contrived and superficial. Even his million-dollar smile and signature laugh fall prey to the dim and lifeless sequel.

Even the return of the quirky Serge (Bronson Pinchot), with his English gibberish, as a state-of-the-art weapon salesman for the truly rich in Beverly Hills cannot save this movie. His invention of the "Annihilator 2000," complete with a microwave, CD player, machine guns and grenades (Who says you can't look good and have fun while fighting crime?), is good for a few chuckles, but in no way does it save this lackluster sequel from its inevitable demise.

Judge Reinhold revives his role as the quacky, anal-retentive Billy Rosewood, with Hector Elizondo as detective Jon Flint and Theresa Randle as Janice Perkins, Murphy's love interest.

Heed my advice, save yourself $7 and avoid this movie. Rent the original.

City Slickers 2

***

The original "City Slickers" was about a pathetic bunch of middle-aged men in a mid-life crisis looking for their identity in the great outdoors. And much to my chagrin, the theme continues in the sequel, "The Legend of Curly's Gold."

Billy Crystal reprises his role as Mitch Robinson, who has just turned 40 and decided that he's too old for harrowing adventures. That is, until he finds a treasure map worth $1 million in Curly's hat (their fearless leader in the original "City Slickers"). So Mitch and his friends set off on a journey into the dry Nevada desert to find the hidden gold.

He enlists the help of his deranged friend Phil Berquist (Daniel Stern), his lazy, money-leeching brother, Phil Robbins (Jon Lovitz) and Curly's twin brother Duke Washburn (Jack Palance) in his quest to find the hidden treasure.

Their journey into the great outdoors leads them into some daring adventures, including some close calls with death. And their exploits lead them into yet another soul-searching exploration of their inner identities.

Billy Crystal is bland the second time around. (Could it be because he lost his perspective while co-writing, producing and starring in this movie?) Even the addition of Jon Lovitz, famous for his deadpan humor on "Saturday Night Live," cannot liven up this movie.

Sadly enough, the end of this film indicates a sequel. The nightmare sequel continues.

Give me a double dose of Pepto Bismol, maximum strength, cherry flavor. Read Next Article