This chapter of Elizabeth’s story takes the franchise in an unexpected turn which many will identify with, considering the rash of loved ones lost over the last few years. Not to say it is dark, as this kind of movie tries to strike as pleasant a tone as possible. An air freshener mise en scene is established with the cinematic equivalent of floral patterns until the disruptive fetus grab. This not only relaxes you into the story but also hooks you to stay until everything is back to normal for poor Elizabeth.
Anyone usually bored by court sequences will delight in the creative addition of the dog puppet. The production, while not groundbreaking, is sturdy and functional, serving the material well. Simple visual storytelling allows the actors room to enjoy the swift pacing. The only overdone element is Scott Glasgow’s music, which is syrupy to the point where a Smurf village would feel gritty in comparison.
“…gives a realistic portrayal of an emotionally disturbed man that needs a hand puppet to function.”
Like all good melodramas, The Wedding Pact 2: The Baby Pact counts on the performances to maintain it. Many of these actors have been working for years and do a great job. O’Grady and Masterson, in particular, solidify the show with excellent work as the heavies. When you have a genre that tries to be as comforting and uplifting as it can be, the agents of chaos count more than ever. They both work that motivation tightrope well, never coming across as evil people. They just happen to be involved in unpopular womb plucking. Your hatred for what they’re doing will have you sailing to the finish line.
Farley makes some very interesting choices with Judge Steel. Instead of just going for broad laughs, which he has the ability to do, the actor gives a realistic portrayal of an emotionally disturbed man that needs a hand puppet to function. His timing is manipulated to be awkward and unnerving, which helps maintain the uncertainty of the conclusion. Riehle delivers more of his trademark excellent acting here, part of the reason he has over 400 credits. Duff carries the movie with a three-dimensional portrayal of Elizabeth. She makes it feel like we already know the character, even if meeting her for the first time. Duff earns Elizabeth’s likeableness, as a lazier performer would have you rooting for the baby-pulling b*****s.
It would be a pleasure to see Duff carry Elizabeth through future Pact movies. Berman’s innovations to the sequel have established a melodrama franchise of note. If you want an afternoon’s entertainment with some emotional muscle, go ahead and turn on The Wedding Pact 2: The Baby Pact.
For screening information, The Wedding Pact 2: The Baby Pact official website.
"…an afternoon's entertainment with some emotional muscle..."