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Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit is a 1993 American musical comedy film loosely based on the life of Crenshaw High School choir instructor Iris Stevenson, and starring Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Bill Duke, and released by Touchstone Pictures, it is the sequel to the successful 1992 film Sister Act. Most of the original cast reprise their roles in the sequel, including Maggie Smith, Kathy Najimy, Wendy Makkena, and Mary Wickes.[4][5]

Despite its moderate commercial success, grossing over $57 million in the United States, the film was a critical failure.


Sisters Mary Patrick (Kathy Najimy), Mary Robert (Wendy Makkena), and Mary Lazarus (Mary Wickes) attend the final performance of Deloris van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) at a Las Vegas theater, depicting her escapades at the nuns' convent in the previous film. Afterwards, the Sisters ask Deloris for her assistance once again. Reuniting with Reverend Mother (Maggie Smith), Deloris learns the nuns now work as teachers at St. Francis Academy in San Francisco, a school Deloris herself had attended, which is facing closure if the administrator Mr. Crisp (James Coburn) convinces the local diocese to agree. Deloris agrees, though reluctantly, to help teach the music class, once again taking on her persona as Sister Mary Clarence. She meets the monks who also work at the school, including principal Father Maurice (Barnard Hughes), math teacher Father Ignatius (Michael Jeter), grouchy Latin teacher Father Thomas (Brad Sullivan), and the cook Father Wolfgang (Thomas Gottschalk).

Mary Clarence attempts her first lessons in the music class, finding the students unruly and rude. Among the students is the ringleader Rita Louise Watson (Lauryn Hill), preachy Ahmal (Ryan Toby), white rap artist Frank-Hey (Devin Kamin), Graffiti artist Sketch (Ron Johnson) who sleeps a lot due to heavy work, fashionable Margaret (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and insecure Maria (Alanna Ubach).

Upon learning the school will close at the conclusion of the current term, Mary Clarence rallies the nuns and monks to find a way to improve the school to keep it open. Like the Reverend Mother before him, Father Maurice finds himself in a conflict with Mary Clarence and her "radical" ways, but Mother Superior reminds Father Maurice that the term "radical" was once applied to them in their day, and reassures him that Mary Clarence's presence will help. Mary Clarence finally dawns a new day and properly takes control of her class, instituting strict rules and prompting Rita to walk out defeated after her failed attempts to get her friends to boycott the class. When the class breaks out in spontaneous singing, showing their true potential, Mary Clarence decides to turn the class into a choir. At first, the class is skeptical, but change their minds when finding out the school will close.

When Mary Robert finds Rita singing before a friend (Tanya Blount), she and Mary Clarence convince her to return to classes. The class rebuilds the music room themselves and becomes a successful choir under Mary Clarence's guidance, with Rita returning to become a lead singer alongside Ahmal. The choir performs a practice run before the school and receives a standing ovation. Afterward, when the nuns find trophies amid the dust and grime which reveal that the school had repeatedly won the all-state choir championship before, sometimes for several consecutive years, Mary Robert wonders whether they still hold the competition or not.

Finding in the affirmative, the nuns enter the choir in the contest behind Mary Clarence's back, who is then tasked with getting Father Maurice's reluctant permission; he gives them his blessing as long as they raise the money themselves and get parental consent from each student. However, Rita's strict mother Florence (Sheryl Lee Ralph) refuses to let her daughter attend, believing a career in music to be a dead end after her late husband was a failed musician who died trying to make a name for himself. Rita rebels, forging her mother's signature on the parental consent form to follow her dreams, leaving her mother an apologetic letter. Shortly after the choir leaves, Mr. Crisp discovers Mary Clarence is no nun and convinces Father Maurice to withdraw them from the competition. The monks overhear and race after the choir bus with the nuns and kids, hampered by Father Thomas's reckless driving.

At the championship, the choir is intimidated by the competition and considers quitting, but they change their mind after Mary Clarence sternly lectures them, reminding them how far they have already come. In the midst of all this, the monks arrive and Father Maurice appears to inform the choir of his decision, but flabbergasted by the choir's robes and newfound enthusiasm, changes his mind and allows them to go on stage. The other monks lock Mr. Crisp in a closet to prevent him from revealing Mary Clarence's true identity to the representatives of the diocese who had come to the competition before the kids have a chance to sing.

Rita arrives on stage, briefly getting stage fright when she spots her mother in the audience, but leads the choir into an urban contemporary gospel rendition of "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee", with hip hop-inspired choreography. The choir ultimately wins the championship, and the diocese representatives, who are impressed by the choir's performance, allow the school to remain open. By this time, Crisp has freed himself from the closet and is about to spill the beans to the Diocesan administration when they give the shocked administrator a promotion (against his wishes) when Reverend Mother makes it look like he came up with the idea to attend the competition himself. Florence apologizes to Rita and tells her that she is proud of her, and Mary Clarence tells the kids that she is not a Las Vegas showgirl, but a headliner. And the film closes with a rousing rendition of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".



Critical response

The film earned a 7% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 28 reviews. Despite this, Goldberg was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.

Box office

Although not as successful as Sister Act, it still grossed over $57 million in the United States, against a $38 million budget.[6] The movie also attracted a much younger audience towards gospel music, as well as helping to boost the musical career of actress Lauryn Hill.


Sister Act 2 has historical significance as the first Hollywood blockbuster sequel headed by an African-American film director, Bill Duke.

It was also a breakout role for several young performers:

The film is popular for its (often altered) gospel songs and R&B classics and soul versions of church hymns. These songs include:

Aretha Franklin scored a worldwide hit single of her song "A Deeper Love," a different version of which appears over the second half of the closing credits, and features a backing vocal by Lisa Fischer.

The soundtrack album reached #74 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart[8] and #40 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[9] charts and received a Gold certification from the RIAA for shipment of 500,000 copies on March 26, 1996.[10]

Whoopi Goldberg's own daughter, Alex Martin, played one of the classroom kids in the movie.

Thomas Gottschalk earned his role as Father Wolfgang by winning a bet against Whoopi Goldberg on his German entertainment show Wetten, dass..?.


1. Greatest Medley Ever Told - Whoopi Goldberg & The Ronelles
2. Never Should've Let You Go - Hi-Five
3. Get Up Offa That Thing/Dancing in the Street - Whoopi Goldberg
4. Oh Happy Day - St. Francis Choir featuring Ryan Toby
5. Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today) - Whoopi Goldberg & the Sisters
6. His Eye Is on the Sparrow - Tanya Blount & Lauryn Hill
7. A Deeper Love - Aretha Franklin & Lisa Fischer
8. Wandering Eyes - Nuttin' Nyce
9. Pay Attention - Valeria Andrews & Ryan Toby
10. Ode to Joy - Chapman College Choir
11. Joyful, Joyful - St. Francis Choir featuring Lauryn Hill
12. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Whoopi Goldberg & Cast

  • The finale performance of "Joyful Joyful" was produced and arranged by Mervyn Warren, noted Jazz and gospel musician who is best known as an original member of a cappella vocal group Take 6.

DVD and Blu-ray releases

The all-region Blu-ray including both "Sister Act" and "Sister Act: Back in the Habit" was released on June 19, 2012 with both films presented in 1080p. The 3-disc set also includes both films on DVD with the same bonus features as previous releases.[11]


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  7. Edwin Hawkins Singers "Oh Happy Day"
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External links

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