Hollywood's Bad Habit

If you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention - Sister Mary Clarence

Whoopi Goldberg as Sister Mary Clarence in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)

"Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" is a prime example of what is wrong with the movie industry, it didn't need to be made but because Whoopi Goldberg in "Sister Act" turned a profit the money men saw a sequel as a guaranteed money maker. As such we have what comes across as a cobbled together storyline taking two routine ideas of a rebellious bunch of kids needing guidance and a school under threat of closure which are really little more than an excuse for Whoopi Goldberg to reprise her role as Deloris Van Cartier aka Sister Mary Clarence. For me you can tell it feels cobbled together because there is no clever writing, no really funny lines and a lot of humour which is beyond corny, at times ending up excruciatingly painful. But "Sister Act 2" has one thing going for it and it is surprisingly not Whoopi, it is the music, the brilliant song choices and some equally brilliant singing which at least keeps it entertaining.

The nuns have bitten off more than they can chew when they become teachers at the St. Francis Academy in San Francisco so Mother Superior (Maggie Smith) dispatches Sister Mary Patrick (Kathy Najimy), Sister Mary Lazarus (Mary Wickes) and Sister Mary Robert (Wendy Makkena) to Vegas to persuade Deloris (Whoopi Goldberg - Made in America) to pay her a visit. Reluctantly Deloris agrees to help them out by becoming Sister Mary Clarence to teach a bunch of rebellious kids music and in doing so discovers that they have great voices which as a choir are phenomenal. But Deloris also discovers that school administrator Mr. Crisp (James Coburn) is leading the diocese in deciding to close St. Francis down so with her new choir they enter the state music competition in hope of winning and persuading the diocese to keep the school open.

Lauryn Hill as Rita Louise Watson in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)

In fairness I didn't expect much of a storyline from "Sister Act 2", well this was a sequel which was obviously rushed out because of the phenomenal success of "Sister Act" but what we get is incredibly weak. Well I mean weak as in being stock storylines with one about unruly kids being taught to sing and have pride coupled with a saving the school storyline. It ends up incredibly weak with no surprises at all or any real energy as it plays out in a predictable manner including the little sub plots such as student Rita having to deal with a mum who doesn't want her singing.

Now of course a big part of the first movie was the humour of a lounge singer masquerading as a nun and of course we don't really get that this time but unfortunately we don't get a lot else. We have some scenes where Deloris as Sister Mary Clarence out smarts the students which are meant to be funny and a joke about a German monk with a love of Bratwurst but it isn't sharp. And what certainly isn't sharp is the humour of various musical numbers because unfortunately this is where the jokes turn excruciating especially a scene which sees the nuns put on a show. Maybe younger audiences would find the over the top face pulling and terrible rapping funny but to me it was just very weak.

The saving grace of "Sister Act 2" is simply the music side of things because not only is it filled with a great selection of music from 60s soul to gospel numbers but some of them sound great. The two big choir scenes where first we have Ryan Toby leading them in "Oh Happy Day" and then "Joyful, Joyful" which starts with Lauryn Hill are amazing, well put together and seriously moving. If it wasn't for the fact that the musical side of the movie wasn't so good then "Sister Act 2" would have been a huge disappointment.

What this all boils down to is that "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" is a prime example of why so many sequels suck, put out because of the profitability of a character rather than because of a good story. And if it wasn't for the fact the musical side of the movie wasn't so good it wouldn't have been a complete disappointment.