Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Very Brady Sequel

Year 8, Day 74 - 3/14/16 - Movie #2,275

BEFORE: I'm watching the 2nd Brady reboot movie under less-than-ideal conditions, on my wife's laptop from a hotel room in a casino in Connecticut (I did enough free advertising for the casino by tweeting about our activities, so no more...).  We drove up on Sunday, hit the outlet stores, and then treated ourselves to dinner at one of the on-site steakhouses.  Monday after breakfast we drove down to Mystic, CT, where we vacationed about 8 years ago for almost a week, but this was just a quick visit to the old-timey village of shops, plus a modern bookstore and a couple slices at Mystic Pizza.  Then back up to the casino for a nap, followed by an evening of playing the slots, dinner at the buffet and then a few frames of bowling in possibly the most elegant bowling alley I've ever seen.  

A technical glitch on the laptop prevented me from watching two movies, and I'm now not a day ahead, meaning I had to watch Monday's movie on Monday night, and I'll have to watch Tuesday's movie on Tuesday night, where I'd much prefer to watch films after midnight, and use Tuesday to get a jump on Wednesday's movie.  Oh well, I was running a movie ahead of schedule anyway, so after St. Patrick's Day if I want to take a day off, I'll still be on track.  

Most of the cast of last night's film carries over for the sequel, and considering I didn't really care for the first Brady film, I'm guessing that the method of watching the film won't matter very much, I just want to get this off the list and move on to the next part of the chain.  

THE PLOT:  A man claiming to be Carol Brady's long-lost first husband, Roy Martin, shows up at the suburban Brady residence one evening. An impostor, the man is actually determined to steal the Bradys' familiar horse statue, a $20-million ancient Asian artifact.

AFTER: Ugh, I don't know where to start in picking this one apart, it's bad on so many levels.  More of that same (intentionally?) bad acting from last night, particularly in the characters of Marcia and Jan.  Marcia's more cruel than ever to her sisters, plus she scrunched up her face way too much, and she had a weird affect to her voice, pronouncing the word "school" like "skue-well" - what the heck was that?  Jan's character stopped listening to the voices in her head, but her lines were still delivered like she was in a state of constant shock, like with no emotion at all, and she somehow believed that creating a fake boyfriend would make her more popular.  After sending herself flowers and setting up fake phone calls from her mystery man, this led to her making out with a mannequin in a coffee shop, as if that would fool anyone - it just led the customers to think she was some kind of insane performance artist.  

Here's the think about humor, to be effective, it has to come from someplace real - it has to start with a scenario that could genuinely happen ("A priest, a minister and a rabbi walk into a bar") and then it needs to go in an unusual angle and defy your expectations ("and the bartender says, 'What is this, some kind of joke?'").  If the set-up is impossible, the joke can not and should not proceed from there.  A family that still acts like it's the 1970's just isn't possible, so all of the humor that develops from there is suspect.  When Mike Brady doesn't know what cable TV is, or Carol Brady gets duped by a man pretending to be her first husband, despite the fact that he's too tall and looks and sounds nothing like that man, it defies all rational logic, and it negates all of the humor that develops from there. 

I get that once again, they want to revisit some of the greater plotlines from the original series, so we're shown Greg and Marcia fighting over who gets to live in the attic (which must be in another dimension, since again, it's a two-story house at best), the kids having a contest to build a house of cards, Bobby playing amateur detective and the whole family going on a trip to Hawaii.  But the new elements that link those things together are so far-fetched and out of step with the original show, that it amounts to virtual nonsense.  Like the kids doing a musical number on the plane, with no background band in sight, or Alice tripping out on magic mushrooms (even though that was a sneaky way to get an animated psychedelic 70's sequence in there).  

Hey, wait, maybe drugs are the answer.  Maybe Mike and Carol Brady did so many drugs in the 1970's (when they were married to other people, not to each other) that their kids were born with strange birth defects, which make them stop aging after a certain point, and makes them just as clueless as their parents about what year it is, or what gay people are, or what current fashions look like.  Because otherwise, wouldn't Marcia eventually see that she's got a stack of yearbooks from attending high school as a junior 15 times, and she never gets to be a senior?  Wouldn't Bobby and Cindy get sick of constantly being 10 years old, like that vampire Kirsten Dunst played in "Interview With a Vampire"?  

The only two saving graces here are: Gary Cole's pitch-perfect impression of Robert Reed as Mike Brady (right down to the seemingly endless moral lessons that seem to go around in circles) and acknowledging that Greg and Marcia were totally hot for each other, and that allowing teens to share a bathroom is a really bad idea, especially if they're step-children of no blood relation.  (Legally, they could have sex and get married, right?)  

NITPICK POINT: The man pretending to be Carol's first husband is really after an ancient relic that's been in the Brady's living room for years, and there's an implication that years ago, he sabotaged a boat to get rid of the real Roy Martin, and that boat was the S.S. Minnow, which would make Roy Martin the "Professor" who was stuck on an island with Gilligan and the Skipper.  Nice try, but any trivia buff knows that the Professor's real name was Roy Hinkley, not Roy Martin.  This is an obvious nod to the fact that Sherwood Schwartz created both TV shows, "The Brady Bunch" and "Gilligan's Island", but you can't just change facts like this when it suits your spoof plot.  

There apparently was another sequel, "The Brady Bunch in the White House", where Mike Brady became U.S. President with his wife as his V.P., but I just don't feel the need to track that one down. 

Starring Shelley Long, Gary Cole, Christine Taylor, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Paul Sutera, Jennifer Elise Cox, Jesse Lee Soffer, Olivia Hack, Henriette Mantel, Steven Gilborn, RuPaul (all carrying over from "The Brady Bunch Movie"), Tim Matheson (last seen in "The Story of Us"), John Hillerman, with cameos from Richard Belzer (last seen in "The Big Picture"), David Spade (last seen in "Grown Ups 2"), Zsa Zsa Gabor (last seen in "Touch of Evil"), Rosie O'Donnell (last seen in "Another Stakeout"), Barbara Eden.

RATING: 2 out of 10 Hawaiian leis

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