It looks like there was more space for nun-themed musicals in the 90s, as Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993) arrived just a year after its predecessor, Sister Act (1992). In this sequel, we return to the adventures of Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg), who since the events of the first film has become a successful cabaret singer in Las Vegas. Some of the nuns from the old convent attend one of her shows, and beg her to return to the new Catholic school where they’re working. The students are out of control, and they need a woman of iron will like Deloris to control them like she controlled the convent choir. Deloris begrudgingly accepts, and inherits a music class filled with rebellious 90s teenagers. What an adventure!
I watched the original Sister Act a while ago and reviewed it here, coming to the conclusion that even though that film has dated a bit, it’s still enjoyable and fun. With that in mind, here are some thoughts I had whilst watching Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit with some friends.
- Am I the only person who feels a bit uncomfortable with Deloris making all this cash money off her experiences as a nun? There’s something about wearing a glittery nun’s habit and flying around a Vegas showroom that tends to take the dignity out of the experience. Definitely a step down from performing in front of the Pope.
- This sequel has less of the action and none of the charm of the original. Furthermore, it has less actual emotive action (as in, threat of murder under witness protection), and more artificially constructed action (school in trouble and we need help! dodgy school business manager! sneaky monks! kids won’t behave! conservative mother! choir practice!!!).
- The sad thing is that what was so fun about the original film was the musical numbers, which were entertaining in their initial silliness and eventual catchiness. The music in this sequel is so contemporary (for the 90s) that it seems awkward and dated. There’s none of the timelessness of the original, and that definitely affects its ability to entertain.
- I really liked Whoopi Goldberg in the first one but in this film it just seemed like she was phoning it in. It reminded me of Sean Connery’s performances in his later Bond films, where he was just reciting his lines and getting the hell out of there.
- Lauryn Hill is in this as the most rebellious schoolgirl of all, who won’t listen to Deloris’ instructions in class, nor in choir. Obviously she has an amazing singing voice (understatement), but her acting leaves a lot to be desired. Although her dialogue was not written very well, either.
- A very young Jennifer Love Hewitt is in this as well, but the less said about her character the better.
- In fact, all of the student characters were so thinly written that it’s difficult to tell them apart, except for Lauryn Hill and a white guy named ‘Frank-kaaay’ who wants to be a rapper and is used as the butt of most jokes.
- If it wasn’t bad enough, two characters had to break the fourth wall somewhere near the end as well. The worst.
- There are villains in the form of sneaky monks that do the bidding of the school’s business manager. One of them uses a giant bratwurst to barricade a cupboard door shut. What else can one write about that.
- Ultimately, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit descends into a typical story where teachers or other trusted adults must assist students to reach their potential and their dreams for the future. Which is nice, except it doesn’t do this very well.
- The funnest moment of the film actually occurs after it’s all over, where all of the characters come together for a big singalong over the credits.
- My verdict on this film: it’s not good. The original is way better.
To give support for my claims regarding the lame music, just watch this musical number as it devolves from genuinely nice gospel singing into tasteless/hilariously bad 90s extravaganza. No good.
Watch this film at Amazon!