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‘The Endless Summer II’ (NR)

By Joe Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 03, 1994

Sorry to say, dude, but the surfing travelogue sequel "The Endless Summer II" is an endless bummer, an amateurish two-hour infomercial for the 1964 16mm original, which introduced surfing to the masses and helped make it an international phenomenon. Director Bruce Brown, who narrates the second "Summer," is always going on about how influential the first film was.

Which may not be anything to brag about -- since that movie became a sensation, the surfing craze has spread from just four countries to every land with a coastline, remote beaches are overrun by extreme thrill-seeking hotdogs and tourists, and development has despoiled pristine places.

"Endless" is pretty and occasionally thrilling. There's lots (maybe too much) of slo-mo, 35mm state-of-the-art water footage taken right alongside the surfers. It's particularly breathtaking when surfers glide through the translucent pipeline of an epic wave, brushing the curling wall of aquamarine water with one hand. And it's even informative, in an air-headed way, about the evolution of surfing.

But "Summer" is pretty hard to sit through, because Brown's incessant beach boy prattle is endlessly irritating. His cute commentary on scenes of surfing dogs and 5-year-olds sounds like those corny "candid captions" in your high school yearbook.

At least Brown had the sense not to give the film's two "stars" many lines: Blond, 20-year-old Pat O'Connell and dark-haired, 26-year-old "Wingnut" Weaver may be genius surfers, but besides being devoid of on-camera charisma, they are seriously grammatically challenged.

On Brown's dime, the two surfers globe-trot from L.A. to Costa Rica to South Africa, France and Fiji, following in the bare footprints of the original film's wave-seekers. They conveniently meet up with some of the world's greatest surfers, including several guys from the '64 film, most of whom are still catching waves. The film is actually more entertaining on land, when O'Connell and Weaver are pursued by a pride of South African lions, or interacting with native cultures in a hilariously gauche "Wild Kingdom" kind of way.

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