James Newton Howard

Junior [Original Score]

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    5
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Reuniting with director Ivan Reitman in the wake of their smash collaboration Dave, James Newton Howard runs smack into the law of diminishing returns with the frothy Junior -- employing the previous film's same basic instrumental approach (strings, brass, woodwinds, piano, and harp) as well as a similarly lightweight comedic sensibility, the score feels like little more than a retread. Howard's bubbly melodies can be charming, but there's no denying that the composer is merely going through the motions here -- the music simply lacks the verve that galvanized Dave, although the percolating arrangement of the ingenious "The Lab" comes close.

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