Making the Grades
On the back of the video box containing this movie, way down on the bottom right corner, is a "recycled" symbol. Silly me. I thought the symbol was identifying what the box was made of, not what was inside. Instead I discovered that Major League II could probably qualify for an environmental award for most reused elements from an original film. Not that the first Major League was original. It contained everything a formula sports movie requires, right down to the bases-loaded-bottom-of-the-ninth finish.
However, there is really only one very important point that distinguishes the second Major League film from the first: It's rated PG. The original was R rated, mainly due to a stuck letter "f" on scriptwriter and director David Ward's typewriter. Now, Ward handed off the script to R.J. Stewart, who simply replaced all those bad words with a new selection of less bad words. Even so, this movie seems obviously constructed with the overall goal to get it shoehorned into a PG classification.
Major League II presents an ideal opportunity to explore why a movie's rating can make or break it at the box office. The original, with an R rating, excluded a huge audience from the theatres. Both Major League movies have big kid appeal: They include zany characters, underdogs, and loud music. It was a marketing error to include so much hard language in the first movie and Major League II represents a second shot at that young market. The exact same premise and plot has been used, but this time the pounds of profanity have been carefully crafted, along with the sexual innuendo, so the more profitable PG classification could be won.