The Brady Bunch Movie

In her first feature as a director, former Second City performer Betty Thomas mounts a big-screen version of the TV show. It’s set in suburban Los Angeles in 1994, though the 70s still reign at home, and the movie is every bit as one-dimensional about the present as the original show was about the past. (Satire here mainly consists of ridiculing the Bradys for not keeping up with fashion and purchasing the right products.) A curiously sour movie in its amused contempt for this fatuous family laced with affectionate nostalgia for its unshakable slickness and insularity, but also an undeniably strange one in its adoption of TV formats and cliches, as if these were the only indexes of contemporary reality that we have left. If you’re 30 or under, chances are the movie will be charged with significance; if you’re older, it won’t seem very different from the recent movie versions of The Flintstones and The Beverly Hillbillies. Shelley Long and Gary Cole are the parents, and their six kids are played by unknowns; written by Laurice Elehwany, Rick Copp, and Bonnie and Terry Turner. (JR)

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