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'The Endless Summer II' (NR)

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 03, 1994

"The Endless Summer II" is one of those rare bits of movie marginalia

that are entirely without merit and, still, a pleasure to sit through.

Directed by Bruce Brown, who 30 years ago made the same surfer's trek around the globe, the sequel is still the ultimate surfer's home movie, and a great part of its appeal is its unpretentiousness and lack of polish. But this handmade quality is also its downside. Though marginally slicker, the movie is as flat and corny -- in concept, sensibility and execution -- as its predecessor. The photography is ravishing but unimaginative, like the most banal calendar art. The continuity is jerky and arbitrary. And the narration is the worst sort of travelogue prose, alternating among the ungrammatical, the redundant and the hackneyed.

Other than that it's perfection.

Watching the film, you experience the somewhat happy, somewhat disturbing sensation of being sucked into a time warp. About the only differences are the fashions and the performers, who in this bright-spirited sequel are the one major improvement.

As before, the kids -- whose names are Patrick O'Connell and Robert "Wingnut" Weaver -- are surfers, not performers, but they're charmers nonetheless. The bleached-blond O'Connell, who rides a short board and runs up and down his waves like the arm of a lie detector, is a sort of happy idiot, giggling his way around the world. By contrast, Weaver is quieter, darker and more of a soul surfer, taking long, elegant rides like the surf dudes of old on his long board.

The movie definitely tests your patience and begins to live up to its name. Regardless of the beauty of the setting, one wave looks pretty much like another, and Brown isn't enough of a filmmaker to break the monotony. But you have to love these kids. No matter what happens, they're stoked.

The Endless Summer II is rated PG, despite the bare bosoms in France.

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