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‘Major League II’ (PG)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
March 30, 1994

They don't come any fouler than "Major League II." The whole movie's a balk, a spluttering, unfunny second season for pitcher Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) and the rest of the lads on director David S. Ward's Cinderella team, a pack of once-lovable losers who made it to the division championships in the 1989 original.

It's clear from the day the ballplayers arrive for their first practice that the chemistry's gone, that fame has turned the team into a gaggle of self-centered individuals who are headed for baseball oblivion unless they can become as one. Written with a flair for cliche by R.J. Stewart, the yarn is a painfully slow and systematic one that includes an apotheosis for each of the teammates. But it's principally Wild Thing's de-evolution that turns this wooden story. Portrayed with a lumpish ingenuousness by Sheen, Wild Thing has been tamed by his pushy new girlfriend (L'Oreal spokeswoman Alison Doody), the super-model behind both his clean-cut new image and his fading fastball. Similarly, the team's comeback is endangered by its castrating former owner (Margaret Whitton), who buys back the franchise from Dorn (Corbin Bernsen), the former third-baseman. Dorn, a mainstay of the original, spends most of the movie on the bench with Tom Berenger, who reprises his role as the arthritic Jake, a catcher whose knees hurt so bad it hurts just to think about playing. Newcomers to the team include a Japanese outfielder (played by Takaaki Ishibashi, a Japanese singer-actor-talk show host) who tries to introduce a little samurai spirit into the Cuban (Dennis Haysbert), who has been gentled by his conversion from voodoo to Buddhism. Omar Epps steps in for Wesley Snipes, who wisely declined to come back as that lovable base-stealer Willie Mays Hayes.

Despite an excess of plot threads and characters -- Randy Quaid as a fickle fan, Bob Uecker as a color-caster -- nothing much really happens. In fact, the fellows spend so much time sitting around in the locker room, you'd think they were practicing up for ice fishing.

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