Blues Brothers 2000

on February 06, 1998 by Simon O
It's been 18 years since "The Blues Brothers" last hit the screen with their wacky musical cult hit that exploded former "Saturday Night Live" players Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi into the bigtime back in 1980. A lot has happened since then. A lot of it not so good. Director John Landis ("Beverly Hills Cop III) has lost something in the interim. Original stars from the film, including John Candy, Cab Calloway and, of course, John Belushi, have died. And "Saturday Night Live" has a lot to answer for--both for what it's become and for the sheer number of stars that have followed, or attempted to follow, in the footsteps of both Belushi (in too many bad ways) and Aykroyd (in not enough good ways).
You'd think that now, in the cynical and harsh late-'90s, that few would have the guts to attempt a sequel, particularly those bright enough to do the original. The result is not as insipid as it could be, but, of course, not nearly as good, as fun or as inspired as the original. The worst part is, after all that's happened, nothing is at stake this time around.
Elwood Blues (Aykroyd), upon being released from prison and discovering the news of his brother's death, sets out to put the band back together. John Goodman steps well, but is wasted, into big shoes as the Belushi replacement--a mild-mannered strip-club bartender who turns funky-man blues singer once he meets Elwood. Tagging along is orphan Buster (J. Evan Bonifant), a juvenile delinquent wannabe. Unfettered by the ghosts of the original (since he wasn't even born), Bonifant steals the show hands down, dancing and acting and taking names. Aykroyd does his best here and stays true to the spirit of his character, but he can't go it alone and, despite their enthusiasm, everyone else seems just slightly out of step. Goodman is trying hard, but with the exception of a few musical numbers, everything else falls flat. The scenes are stoic, static and would be boring except they're so truncated as to almost make no sense. The rhythm and pace of the movie is way off, and too long. The musical numbers are fun only because of the all-star, over-the-top plethora of musical talent involved. Landis is at a loss here.
While Aykroyd is clearly still moved by the music, the director is basically going through the motions. The best that can be said for "The Blues Brothers 2000" is the music is great, the musical numbers are good and Dan Aykroyd is slim again. Still, you throw in phenomenal legend B.B. King and it just might be enough. Starring Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and J. Evan Bonifant. Directed by John Landis. Written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis. Produced by Dan Aykroyd, John Landis and Leslie Belzberg. A Universal release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for exotic dancing and some language. Running time: 123 min.
Tags: Starring Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, J. Evan Bonifant. Directed by John Landis. Written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis, Produced by Dan Aykroyd, John Landis, Leslie Belzberg, Universal, Comedy

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