Problem Child 2

Problem Child 2

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brian Levant
Produced by Robert Simonds
Written by Scott Alexander
Larry Karaszewski
Music by David Kitay
Cinematography Peter Smokler
Edited by Lois Freeman-Fox
Robert P. Seppey
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • July 3, 1991 (1991-07-03)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11–15 million[1]
Box office $32.7 million[2]

Problem Child 2 is the 1991 comedy film sequel to the 1990 film Problem Child; a continuation of the exploits of Junior, an adopted orphan boy who deliberately wreaks comedic havoc everywhere he goes. In it, Amy Yasbeck portrays Annie Young, unlike the first one in which she portrayed Flo Healy, wife of Ben (John Ritter). It was produced by producer Robert Simonds, who also produced the first one. It was rated PG-13, unlike its predecessor, which was rated PG.

This second installment in the Problem Child franchise did not fare as well as its predecessor, only performing about half as well at the U.S. box office and was also beat out by another sequel film, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which was released on the same day.


Ben Healy and his son, Junior, move from Cold River, Illinois to Mortville, Oregon, a quiet, peaceful community, apparently as a way to start their lives all over again. As they arrive at their new house, Junior sees a girl roller skating on the sidewalk with a balloon, pops it with his sling shot and laughs at her. When Junior starts his first day of school he meets the girl again. She offers to show him to the principal's office, but places a mocking message sign on his back. To his amusement, Junior sees that Igor Peabody (who is also from Cold River) is the principal of his new school. Peabody panics at the sight of him and promptly promotes him to the sixth grade. Mr. Thorn, his new teacher, is teaching math to a bunch of students, including the school bully Murph (who has been held back for several years). Junior manages get on Murph's bad side. Murph retaliates by trying to drop the school's satellite dish on Junior at the end of school, but it misses him and hits Ben instead, knocking him out. When Ben comes to, he sees school nurse Annie Young and becomes smitten with her.

Around the same time, bank owner LaWanda Dumore, the richest woman in Mortville, takes a liking to him. Ben leaves Junior with an irresponsible babysitter as he goes on a date but Junior ruins it by calling the date's former husband and telling him that she is at the restaurant with Ben. Ben then attempts a second date, deciding his dad, Big Ben, who has arrived to live with them in the meantime, isn't a pushover like most babysitters and leaves him to babysit Junior. Junior, however, soaks the doormat and rewires the doorbell, electrocuting the date; this causes her to cancel. Ben decides to stop dating and spend more time with Junior.

While Ben and Junior are out for the day, LaWanda comes in and decorates the house to impress Ben. Ben has a heart-to-heart with Junior on the way back, saying that, even if he does date, he still loves Junior and won't let a woman come between them. When they arrive home, they meet LaWanda, who impresses Ben, but Junior is able to see through her fake smile and knows she's bad news. Junior then ruins the dinner she made by putting live cockroaches in the food. Junior tries to tell Ben that she is bad, but he doesn't believe him. While at a school function, Ben sees a puppet show go awry and thinks Junior is to blame. He stops it, but is surprised to see it was Trixie, Annie's daughter, ruining it. Annie rushes to take her home. Ben tries to tell her he understands what it is like raising a problem child and thinks they can help one another. She tells him she likes him, but if they date, Trixie's behavior would only get worse. He proposes to LaWanda, believing she is the only woman who will marry him.

After Junior switches LaWanda's sample in a blood test with one from a rabid dog, LaWanda is rushed to a hospital and undergoes more blood tests from baffled doctors, who can't find any bite marks. After a chance meeting in a pizza restaurant, Ben, Annie, Junior and Trixie have dinner together and have a good time, even after the food fight the kids start with Peabody and his girlfriend gets them thrown out. Junior and Trixie apologize, become friends and decide their parents should date.

In the hospital, Junior sabotages LaWanda's treatment by switching her patient file with that of a man in for plastic surgery so he can have the longest nose in the world,in an attempt to make her so ugly that Ben will not marry her. However, Ben refuses to see LaWanda before the wedding, citing the tradition of not seeing the bride before the ceremony. In another attempt to stop the wedding, Junior rigs a rope across the aisle in order to trip Lawanda to so that her veil falls off and Ben can see her nose. LaWanda stands up to reveal that she had a last-minute expensive plastic surgery. Trixie crashes the wedding in a front-end loader carrying the Love Rock whilst Ben and LaWanda are at the altar. LaWanda then reveals her true selfish nature to a shocked Ben by saying openly that she hates children, and Ben realizes Junior was telling the truth and that Annie, not LaWanda, is the one for him. Big Ben decides to marry LaWanda, while Junior and Trixie use explosives to splatter both of them with the wedding cake. Ben, Junior, Trixie and Annie walk away together happily while holding hands.


Actor Role
John Ritter Benjamin 'Ben' Healy, Jr.
Michael Oliver Junior Healy
Jack Warden Benjamin 'Big Ben' Healy, Sr.
Laraine Newman LaWanda Dumore
Amy Yasbeck Annie Young
Ivyann Schwan Trixie Young
Gilbert Gottfried Igor Peabody
Paul Willson Smith, LaWanda's Assistant
Bob Smith Father Flanagan
Alan Blumenfeld Aron Burger
Krystle and Tiffany Mataras Dolly and Madison
Charlene Tilton Debbie Calukinski
Kristen Simonds Rhoda
Eric Edwards Murph
James Tolkan Mr. Thorn
Martha Quinn Emily
Zach Grenier Voytek


The film was filmed on location in Orlando, Florida from January to March 1991, including the-then newly opened Universal Studios Florida.

In 2014, during an interview on Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski revealed that the studio was reluctant to rehire them, only doing so because they wanted to shoot a sequel before Michael Oliver could noticeably grow and, as the writers of the first film, could produce a script quicker than writers new to the story and characters of the franchise.

Frustrated with the criticisms of the first one, they deliberately increased the poor taste in the sequel, intending to make a Pasolini or John Waters film for children, and went so far overboard that the first cut received an R rating from the MPAA, a secret kept until their 2014 appearance on the podcast. Dubbing over Junior's use of the terms "fuckface" and "pussy whipped" got the film a PG-13 rating on appeal, but the studio was still so nervous that, at the last minute, they added the Woody Woodpecker cartoon Smoked Hams to the film's theatrical release, to reassure parents that the film was suitable for children.[3]


The film did not fare as well as the first one, earning half as much at the U.S. box-office.[1] Rotten Tomatoes reports that 7% of 27 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 2.4/10. The sites consensus read: "Crude, rude, puerile, and pointless, Problem Child 2 represents a cynical nadir in family-marketed entertainment."[4]


External links

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