May 07, 2007 at 12:00 PM EDT

When I first read this weekend that producer Edward R. Pressman was planning to finance a sequel to Wall Street, it sounded like a pretty good idea. Some film concepts get stale with age, but this one is (unfortunately) as fresh as ever. Twenty years after Oliver Stone’s movie came out, our culture remains drenched in meaningless materialism, and corporate malfeasance is at Gilded Age levels. What better time for another razor-sharp expose of stock-market excess?

That’s how I felt, at least, until I remembered the real reason for Wall Street‘s continued popularity — and I’m not talking about the American public’s awakening to the nightmarish realities of post-industrial capitalism. No, a lot of people dig Wall Street because they actually identify with the monstrous character of Gordon Gekko, played so brilliantly by Michael Douglas. When he proclaims that “Greed… is good,” they clap along enthusiastically. Even Douglas himself, who’s agreed to reprise the role in the sequel, has just complained to the New York Times about “drunken Wall Street broker[s]” who “come up to me and say, ‘You’re the man!'”Unless the sequel is played just right, then, we can look forward to another five to 10 years of nattily-attired meatheads spouting amoral catchphrases like “Lunch is for wimps” without a trace of irony.

addCredit(“Wall Street: Everett Collection”)

And without original director Oliver Stone on board, I’m not holdingmy breath for this one to be played right. (“I’d pitch Ben Younger todirect,” PopWatch editor Gary Susman wryly notes, “but he’s alreadydone his Wall Street homage.”)The more I think about it, the more I realize that the inspiration forthis sequel must have been — you guessed it — old-fashioned greed.

Then again, who am I kidding? I’ll probably go see this movie anyway,if only for a chance at catching an incandescent performance of thekind that Douglas hasn’t given in years. What about you, PopWatchers?Is Wall Street 2: Electric Boogaloo a sign of the oncoming apocalypse, or a startup that could yield a halfway decent return?

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