This exquisitely mounted sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) skims past any narrative shortcomings through the complete and convincing totality of the wizarding world it creates, drawing you into another reality with perhaps more verisimilitude than any film in the Harry Potter canon.
Kudos to writer-director Eric Schaeffer for doing a sexually graphic romantic comedy about fiftysomethings without being patronizing or cutesy. With both heart and guts, he honestly depicts how that moony-eyed, falling-in-love rush of endorphins is the same at 55 as it is at 15.
It's a classic fantasy scenario, overflowing with creative possibilities, but Carrey's Nolan isn't charmingly misguided or comically loathsome enough to deserve the lesson; he's just a big, inconsequential crybaby.
The real trouble is Jack: He's narcissistic and tough to like (Pontevecchio's fine, but a younger actor might not have brought an impression of arrested development to the character), and his crude sense of humor borders on the disgusting.
It would have been nice if Hardwick had a bigger budget for retakes to work out some of the supporting actors' stiffness, but he does keep the story moving, finding the humor in characters caught up in their own machinations rather than cheap wisecracks.
The annoying Reg Rogers, on the other hand, who plays Little Caesar creator Raoul Berman, delivers his lines like a stoned Pee-wee Herman, and the scene in which Billy Crystal mutters and drools in a restaurant is just disturbing for anyone who admired his work in the past.
Some great things can found in this fluidly kinetic film, well-directed by X-Files series and movie veteran Rob Bowman, including no-nonsense dialogue, epic photography and a terrific score. It's too bad the story is so sloppy and stupid.