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The Sandlot 2 (May 26/05)

Though it's predecessor featured a heavy emphasis on baseball, The Sandlot 2 takes the unusual step of abandoning that aspect of a seemingly ongoing series and instead focuses on the exploits of a group of kids during one particularly eventful summer.

Set in 1973, The Sandlot 2 follows a pack of adolescent boys - led by the charismatic David Durango (Max Lloyd-Jones) - as they prepare to spend their summer break playing baseball at the very same sandlot featured in the original film. They're shocked to discover, then, that a group of young girls - led by the talented Hayley Goodfairer (Samantha Burton) - have already taken up residence there. After a short bout of arguing, the two disparate factions agree to share the diamond - but they'll soon have a much bigger problem...

It's been said that The Sandlot 2 is essentially a rehash of the original, and while the two films do share a number of plot elements, there are enough differences between them to justify the existence of this one. Aside from an entirely superfluous James Earl Jones cameo - in which the performer reprises his role from the first movie - the story essentially features new characters that are trapped in an admittedly familiar situation (the gang must retrieve an expensive model spaceship from a neighboring backyard, as opposed to the rare baseball from the original).

And that's really the problem with The Sandlot 2. Instead of revolving around these kids and their baseball-related shenanigans, the film's entire second half is devoted to their attempts to somehow avoid the champing jaws of "The Great Fear" (a mean dog that just happens to guard the yard where said spaceship has landed). The movie's other elements - ie a romance between David and Hayley - are generally glossed over in favor of the big dog hijinks, ensuring that the film will certainly hold more appeal for children than adults.

Having said that, The Sandlot 2 does feature a brisk pace and several charismatic performances - which is generally enough to keep older viewers semi-engaged.

out of

About the DVD: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment presents The Sandlot 2 with a sharp letterboxed transfer, and several bonus features. The disc includes a commentary track with writer/director Evans, a look at the making of the movie, a featurette revolving around the kids from the original film, an interview between two actual baseball players, and a trailer.
© David Nusair