My initial reaction when I knew about the "The Visitors"'s upcoming sequel was 'Why?' What could ever get funnier than one of the funniest French comedies, and what's more, that ended in a very satisfying way? The film had to deal with the case of Jacquard who was sent in the Middle-Ages? Well, that was supposed to be a final gag, the punch line of a great comedy
I mean, would you have wanted a "Some Like it Hot" sequel to know if Osgood Jr. and Daphne would really be married?
This is the first of several reasons for which this film should never have been made: NO REASON TO BE! Not to mention that they waited for five years, the actors obviously changed and they couldn't get the whole casting back. Of course, this is nothing compared to the most painful casting aspect: the replacement of Valérie Lemercier by Muriel Robin. NO VALERIE LEMERCIER! To those who think that the absence of Tom Hagen ruined "The Godfather Part III", keep in mind that he was replaced by another character while Muriel Robin was supposed to be Béatrice (and Frénégonde) de Montmirail, and no one could seriously buy it, especially after Lemercier created such an unforgettable character. Only a good script could have redeemed Lemercier's absence, but the script is probably the worst thing about the film.
While the intelligence of the first opus was to use fantastic elements only to serve some key scenes, in the sequel, there is an abundance of subplots, of time travels, of goings back and forth that's it's impossible to keep track on everyone and even worse, the script probably features the most exhaustive list of incoherences and continuity issues. In fact, there's simply NO CONTINUITY: Godefroy never drugged the Chief of Police, there was no reason for Béatrice to believe that Ginette was from the Middle-Age just because she wanted to marry Jacquouille (and it was supposed to serve a comical subplot), why would Jacquard find a cell-phone in his pocket since he's coming from 1992 and why should the Duke's jewelery be missing since they were stolen during his funerals
that never happened after Godefroy's come-back?
Well, I might forgive the last one because the first opus didn't deal with time travel issues with more accuracy, but it was still making sense. Besides, it was the plot's starting point, the whole issue about the missing jewels, which left "The Corridors of Time" open, threatening the world with a series of disasters. They made it such a big thing, that the film oscillated between dark moments very unsettling for a comedy and too many buffoonish situations that were not even funny, even by artificially exploiting the same tricks than the first, even with the creation of lame catchphrases. Obviously, they had the budget, the late 90's typical CGI-driven effects. I could have forgiven the blatant displays of product placements (as it can be seen as a realistic touch) but I couldn't spot one miserable redeeming quality.
Instead of a solid story with a few good laughs, "The Visitors II" provides an assemblage of disjointed gags and sketches that try to make the movie funny every time through such a chaotic editing that it makes you wonder what the hell they were thinking. The film is one of the noisiest you'll ever see, going from the cheapest jokes, toilet and cream pie humor at its worst. Are we supposed to laugh when Jacquouille throws eggs on a supermarket manager's face? Is Jacquouille even supposed to act this way? He was a funny sidekick, but not a buffoon, here, the film could have been subtitled the "Clavier Show", making him more unbearable than Beatrice's looks and Ginette's make-up combined. Every part was overacted, the Police Officer who wanted to prove Jacquard's alcoholism, Cora the snobby bitchy wife, her dull daughter
just look at the entrance of the woman who comes for a dental visit and you'll have an idea.
Another unnecessary subplot involves Jacquard's torture that made him prone to pee everywhere, a random encounter with Jacquouille's brother, and even more random, Jean-Pierre's accidental travel in time. Why did they do that since it wasn't funny and didn't seem to affect the character? The film went in all directions and it was so difficult to stay focused that all I waited for was the mess to stop. Though it had its moments, after one hour and four minutes, the miracle happened with perhaps one of the funniest French comedic moments, the scary close-up on a screaming Jean Reno. But one, two or three hilarious gags can't redeem a near-two-hour nonsense, the ending could have saved it, but there was NO ENDING!
Since they made such a big deal about "The Corridors of the Time" and the way they would destroy not only Godefroy's lineage but the whole world, what were they thinking with that ending? it's not even a gag, it's indeed a disaster, and the sight of Godefroy the Brave ready to fight and getting a bullet in his sword was very disturbing and not funny at all. Did they do this just to follow the 'Clavier show" and show (another) descendant of Jacquouille as Bonaparte's counselor? Or did they think so much of the film that they felt it deserved a sequel? Well, the film still did well, 8 millions of spectators, but even the authors are not fooled by these statistics, people came expecting to laugh as much as for the first, rediscovering endearing characters who penetrate pop-culture immediately, for an inevitable disappointment.
No ending, no continuity, no Valérie Lemercier, no reason to be, the film is just a bunch of 'No's
even in the 'making of', Poiré, Clavier, Reno and al, had at least the decency to admit in the making-of that this 'was not as good as' the first one.