The Evening Star - * *

This extra sappy sequel to Terms of Endearment just doesn’t fly. The film follows the further life of Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine), who, after the death of her daughter (in the prior film), is left to raise her three grandchildren (George Newbern, Mackenzie Astin, and Juliette Lewis). The absence of their father, Flap, is left largely to the imagination. Anyhow, the kids have all grown up mentally unbalanced, but that will change over the course of the movie. Meanwhile, Aurora spars with her late daughter’s best friend Patsy (Miranda Richardson), flirts with the General (Donald Moffat), and is tricked by loyal housekeeper Rosie (Marion Ross) into seeing a therapist (Bill Paxton). The Evening Star doesn’t have the sparkle of Terms of Endearment. Instead, it is filled with many emotional ploys so obviously geared to pull your heartstrings that they fail to do so. There are no less than three funerals, a wedding, and enough pictures of Debra Winger around that you’d swear she was in the cast. Jack Nicholson even appears in a cameo as if to remind you of the superior earlier film. Nothing in the Evening Star seems genuine, and although the actors give it a good shot, they can’t redeem the material. Director Robert Harling calls the shots with a routine blandness that adds little to the film. The Evening Star is a prime example of why unneccessary sequels shouldn’t be made.

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