(from The Watermark, 12/26/96)
An often lovely sequel to Terms of Endearment that unfortunately doesn't complete itself. MacLaine is back as the pushy, domineering Aurora Greenway, now facing her share of depression and anger over her three underachieving grandchildren. She starts seeing a cute younger therapist (Paxton) and finds the root of her unhappiness: she has never found the true love of her life, and she is unsure of what she will leave behind when her life is over. The story then meanders along with interesting episodes that aren't fully tied together by the film's end. The saddest part is that we are clearly shown the love and legacy of Aurora's life, but the film never gives her the proper revelatory scene in which she realizes this herself. Were it not for the excellent work by the well-seasoned cast, the script's shortcomings would be much more apparent. Supporting players are keenly extracted from the first film - Ross as the live-in maid, and Richardson as MacLaine's best friend and worst enemy - and are used to their fullest dramatic and comic effect. Nicholson's role is only a short appearance toward the end of the movie, but the film doesn't suffer from his absence. Robert Harling, the screenwriter who also adapted The First Wives Club and wrote Steel Magnolias, sticks to familiar turf: the relationships among the female characters. And Nicholson's presence is very much a reaffirmation that MacLaine has emotionally outgrown him. Lewis is perfectly cast as the daughter of the now-deceased Debra Winger, even in spite of the fact that she is still one of the worst actresses of all time. Queer Quotient: Scott Wolf (from Party of Five) plays Lewis' boyfriend. He's a complete schmuck (most men in Harling films are), but he's incredibly cute as he prances around in his underwear flexing his muscles.