THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE (1995) Review
DIR: Betty Thomas
“DADDY, there’s a BRADY in our yard!” Who knew the Brady family were so lame and annoying? Well, not me growing up, that’s for sure. The Brady Bunch was always incredibly novel when I was a child; after school I would race home to catch the last 10 minutes of it on television and wish I could watch hours more. I was obsessed. Their ‘perfect’ family and very first world problems always had me so captivated, so you can imagine my delight when I discovered there was a movie. Of course, the irony was so lost on me, I took the film as an extension of the series and not much more. Ah to be young.
In The Brady Bunch Movie, everyone’s favourite family lives next door to the Dittmeyers, who couldn’t be more different than they are. Larry Dittmeyer (the excellent Michael McKean) has large scale development plans for the block and is determined to get rid of the Bradys so he can demolish the houses and make a killing. Problem is, they’re not going anywhere. Dena Dittmeyer (Jean Smart) is obsessed with Greg (Christopher Daniel Barnes) and Peter (Paul Sutera), Eric Dittmeyer (Jack Noseworthy) is your typical 1990s grungy, music obsessed, bullying arsehole and even the young Missy (Moriah Snyder) tells Cindy (Olivia Hack) and her lisp that she’ll “THEE HER ON THE THEE-THAW!”
It just so happens that concurrently to the above, the Bradys have to come up with $20,000 in back taxes or they’ll lose their house. Game on. At first the kids try to take on extra chores to raise the money, ever optimistic and unaware that there’s no way in hell they could raise that kind of money in a week. But lo and behold at the last minute they enter a ‘Search for the Stars’ contest, give the most iconic performance (song, costumes and choreography all on point) and (SPOILER ALERT) win the first prize of exactly $20,000. Life can be sweet sometimes.
Mike (Gary Cole) is still as motivating as ever, “Now Cindy, when you tattle on someone, you’re not just tattling on them, you’re tattling on yourself. And then by tattling on someone, you’re really just telling them, I’m a tattle tale. Now, is that the tale you want to tell?” and Carol (Shelley Long) is rocking the retro garments and the kids are all terribly misguided for this modern world.
The best part of this film is undoubtedly Marcia (Christine Taylor), ironic, since Jan’s (Eve Plumb) main shtick is “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”. Oblivious to the fact that her best girlfriend is in love with her (who wouldn’t be?), the worst thing that’s ever happened to her occurs when she separately tells two boys she’ll go to the dance with them. We’ve all been there, life can also be hard sometimes.
This time warp is fun, the writing is sharp and the caricatures are spot on. Do yourself a favour.
And yes, that is RuPaul as the school counsellor.
Chloe Sesta Jacobs is a people and culture geek who loves writing about film and usually does so with her two miniature sausage dogs lying all over her. Chloe really enjoys world cinema and has been heard to say “if it doesn’t have subtitles, don’t talk to me”. She also tweets a LOT at @csestajacobs.