MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI -- Aspen Hill, Jenifer, K-B Cinema 7, Riverdale Plaza and Springfield Mall.
The idea behind "More American Graffiti," besides the obvious one of milking a previous hit, "American Graffiti," is to film the social cliches of the '60s in the cinematic cliches of the period.
A domestic spat between husband and wife, over whether he will permit her to take a three-hour-a-day job in a nursery school instead of being home with their children all day, is shot like a television kitchen commercial.
Vietnam, pictured as a swamp where American officers snort, bumble and take pratfalls, to the exasperation of their cynical men, is shown as for television news.
Hippiedom, a colorful and noisy bedlam of strobe-lit donneybrooks, is put on multiple screens.
And drag racing is given the full-screen drama of the grand-scale car chase.
These four sequences, in which characters from the first film are shown on New Year's Eves of 1964 through 1967, are further sliced up by each one's being shown for only two minutes at a time, before a switch to two minutes from another year. Early in the film, the 1966 heroine notes that two of her friends had been killed on previous New Year's Eves, but then we flash back to the 1964 racing episode and 1965 Vietnam,. where these deaths have not yet taken place. One theme, played for comedy, is waiting to see these people get it.
Such quick-flash mixing depends on instant recognition, which is a reason for everything's being done in cliches. There is no coherent time to develop anything one would have to think about.
But the those little square screens, slapped in quick succession on the big one, seem as alike as cellophane -- wrapped squares of processed American cheese -- only it's the American experience of violence that's being processed for quick laughs.
Vietnam is seen as a slapstick world of incompetence, good only for laughs. Women's liberation, summarized by mommy and daddy yelling at each other, can't sustain a visual joke for all its two-minute sections, so the film rapidly moves into the better joke of student demonstrators being beaten by police with nightsticks. Reckless driving has long been a staple movie funny, and so has the barroom brawl, and these carry the other parts.
It is American graffiti in the sense of being thoughtless vulgarity, quickly scrawled to cover a wall. CAPTION: Picture, RON HOWARD, CINDY WILLIAMS AND CANDY CLARK PICK UP OLD ROLES IN "MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI."