Ah, the 1990s. A time when not only was there a video store on every corner (at least it seemed like it, right?), but there was also an ample amount of made-for-television shlock, and I thank my parents all the time for letting me grow up in this period of Tubular classics. It seemed as if a franchise was waning in the box office receipts, they handed the properties over to the TV department and said “Go all out!” In an era where we got Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love (A backdoor pilot, which is still better than Nerds in Paradise) and Angles in the Endzone (cause if angles can’t save major league baseball, save small-town football) even a franchise like Problem Child was not exempt from this treatment. Hence, Problem Child 3: Junior in Love premiered on NBC (owned by Universal) on May 13, 1995, and instantly there was no more crime in this world… besides subjecting the youth of America to this TV Movie. They should all be locked up and have the key thrown away!
What is missing from the third installment you ask? EVERYTHING! Having directed before, I can have ample amounts of sympathy for anyone who makes a film. It is hard, tedious, and thankless at its best moments, let alone making a made-for-television film into a universally (pun on the company intended) panned comedy series. Gone are Michael Oliver, John Ritter, and Amy Yasbeck. In their place… William Katt. The plot (if you can call it one) focuses solely on Junior, now a little older and a little wiser, falling in love for the first time, and honestly… who cares about that, right? Everyone does their best cashing the checks Universal handed out and we get a Great American Hero in this turkey, and it ain’t a Katt. His name is Gilbert Gottfried!
Before you even read one more line, we must all agree. Not just any agreement, because countries and politicians from across the globe can easily solve their issues and come to rational conclusions. That’s easy. What’s more difficult is getting the world to acknowledge the legendary mythos of Gilbert Gottfried, a man who should be immortalized in statues next to Caligula and Mother Teresa. Most know Gottfried from his illustrious comedy career, from stand-up to his amazing podcast, but his film career (including USA Up-All-Night) is something to behold. I mean, who else can say they have played Abraham Lincoln (Highway to Hell) and be one of the only two stars to be in all three films in the franchise (Jack Warden, one of the greatest actors of all time, is the other sole reason to maybe watch this dud). However, Gottfried has the distinguished honor of appearing in all twenty-six episodes of the short-lived animated series, which also included such colossal talents of Jim (Winnie the Pooh) Cummings, Nancy (Bart Simpson) Cartwright, John (Gomez Adams) Astin, and Jonathan (Dr. Smith) Harris (oh the pain, oh the pain).
Directed by Greg Beeman ()who gave us classics like Mom and Dad Save the World and Bushwhacked) and coming in at a jerkish 87 minutes, you probably have not had the opportunity to see the movie much, since it has not been released officially in the United States on VHS or DVD. However, thanks to the wonders of technology (and the fact it was released in Region 2) you can watch the final entry in the Tao of Junior on YouTube. So curl up in front of a box TV wearing your stonewashed jeans, starter jacket (with a team you don’t even root for), and pump up your Wal-Mart knockoff sneakers to be in awe of Gilbert Gottfried’s wonder the third time around!
In case you ever wanted to know what a possible Problem Child 4 could be, check out this episode of Fandom Spotlite’s VCR Redux