Happy Death Day 2U 0.0 stars

Happy Death Day 2U movie poster

The first installment of director Christopher Landon’s horror riff on Groundhog Day worked its premise to amusing enough effect: grief-damaged young woman Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) gets trapped in a time loop that sees her killed again and again on her birthday, but she manages to use said loop to uncover and eventually thwart her killer. As a bonus, she works on her issues and falls in love in the process. The sequel makes it clear why there was no Groundhog Day 2: The Return of Punxutawney Phil. What is left to be done? Answer: not much, so let’s pad out a consideration of What If Life Had Gone Differently? with forced drama, mild danger, halfhearted gags, undefined characters, underwhelming romance, and a lot — too much, really —of science talk surrounding a time-loop gizmo named after Sisyphus. (Okay, the name is cute.) Probably the most memorable bit — if only because of its willingness to wander into the realm of questionable taste, and so make the audience maybe feel something — is our heroine’s played-for-laughs suicide montage. Rothe mugs and emotes for all she’s worth, which is something, but her effort only highlights the desultory character of everything around her. 2019.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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