Ohh the sequel bug. Have you heard of it before? Side effects include lack of consistency, over-playing of tropes, over complication and lack of original charisma. Such a sickness afflicted Happy Death Day 2U.

Now, Happy Death Day 2U is not a BAD movie. It’s not a horrendous watch…it’s just…average. I was a big fan of the surprise that was Happy Death Day, but this comedy sequel can’t live up to the standard set by its predecessor.

JessicaRotheHDD2U

Happy Death Day 2U explains the origin for the groundhog’s day effect that Tree Gelbman is encountering. An errant science project by Ryan Phan, the Asian roommate of lover interest Carter Davis, results in a sort of a time table paradox. A parallel universe is created where Tree is awoken again in a new realm where she once again must escape death.

There are differences between the two time tables the audience sees. Most notably, Tree’s mom is alive in the new version, which is a full 180-degree wing from the story of Happy Death Day. Other variances include the dynamic between sorority house leader Danielle and adorable nerd Carter, the role of Dr. Gregory Butler and his relationship with the students at the school.

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Happy Death Day 2U adds in all these plot mechanics in order for a sequel to appear necessary and give it a purpose, but it is at the expense of the movie’s charm. I don’t love Jessice Rothe as Tree like I did in Happy Death Day. The relationship between Carter and Tree is not lovable-college like in the first, and all the side characters that acted as accents in the first are now more prominent players. I got JUST the perfect amount of Phan in Happy Death Day, but Happy Death Day 2U is like when a salad is overloaded with two much dressing.

There are obvious plot holes and leaps of faith required to enjoy the movie, so they are not worth poking open here. The gripes I have are with the story direction and the points of emphasis that were chosen by writer and director Christopher Landon. Happy Death Day was written by Scott Lobdell, and he found a way to make the absurdity and lack of structure endearing. The original had a way of just floating by, passing over the speed bumps. Happy Death Day 2U is sagged down and the levity is marred by tar and pot holes.

Landon has commented that if there was a be a sequel to Happy Death Day 2U, it’d be the final one for him. There is a major tag-on at the end of the movie that expands the cinematic universe capability of the franchise. Producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions noted that “If Chris didn’t want to continue, we would be done at three.”

I would be okay with trilogy. Despite my disappointment in Happy Death Day 2U, I have still enjoyed both movies and most of my time with the characters.

STANKO RATING: C

Happy Death Day 2U IMDB
Happy Death Day 2U Rotten Tomatoes

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