A Very Brady Sequel

on August 23, 1996 by Christine James
In the same spirit as 1995's hit "The Brady Bunch Movie" and based on the iconic '70s TV show "The Brady Bunch," "A Very Brady Sequel" derides the peace, love, joy and grooviness that the Bradys embody, while still making them goofily likable heroes. A perennially naive and cheerful brood, the Bradys manage to remain oblivious to the increasing cynicism and declining morals of the past two decades, instead choosing to remain time-warped in a much simpler era. But the nasty '90s keep trying to infringe on their ignorant bliss. In the first movie, malevolent neighbors tried to force the Bradys out of their fake wood-paneled, shag-rugged and formica-laden abode. In "A Very Brady Sequel," a greedy opportunist (Tim Matheson) poses as the first husband of matriarch Carol (Shelley Long). "It turns out he's not dead, like we originally thought," husband Mike (Gary Cole) brightly explains to the kids. The con man's plan is to steal a valuable artifact that Carol's real first, an adventurous archeologist, sent to her just before his presumed untimely demise. The $20 million sculpture, its worth unknown to the Brady clan, sits among their bric-a-brac, just waiting to be a victim of the consequences of playing ball in the house.
Many '70s sitcom taboos are committed in this comedy as the filmmakers explore such issues as the sexual tension between eldest (not blood-related) siblings Greg (Christopher Daniel Barnes) and Marcia (an uncannily Marcia-like Christine Taylor); make innuendos about Sam the Butcher slipping Alice the maid (Henriette Mantel) a tube steak; and include a scene with Alice mistakenly putting hallucinogenic mushrooms in the imposter's spaghetti ("Oh no, I'm tripping with the Bradys!" he cries, and we glimpse inside his mind to see a surreal, multicolored scene from the short-lived "Brady Kids" cartoon series, in which an animated Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy dance around while cloyingly singing "Good Morning, Starshine.") Lots of memorable plots from the original "Brady Bunch" series are reenacted or alluded to, to the delight of a certain generation who can recall verbatim lines of dialogue from every episode. Mike Brady's trademark rambling lectures are affectionately mocked, as is Carol's stock "Oh, Mike, what'll we do?" query, which was posed every few shows during dilemmas. Although one joke--the Brady's obliviousness to the world around them and the resulting reactions from those who interact with them--is soon stretched thin, it's fun to experience the nostalgia factor while laughing along with the shameless lampooning of a classic small-screen institution. And, though some jokes are too simple-minded and easy (e.g., tube steak), many deftly point up and exaggerate the subtle idiosyncracies of the show that we might never have before consciously realized, tapping into long-dormant pop-culture memories and giving them a delightfully sacrilegious and satirical spin. But this fare is strictly for "Brady" fans only; the humor depends on recognizing elements from the show that have been twistedly but lovingly parodied. Starring Shelley Long, Gary Cole, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Christine Taylor, Jennifer Elise Cox and Tim Matheson. Directed by Arlene Sanford. Written by Harry Elfont & Deborah Kaplan and James Berg & Stan Zimmerman. Produced by Sherwood Schwartz, Lloyd J. Schwartz and Alan Ladd Jr. A Paramount release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor and drug content. Running time: 88 min.
Tags: sequel, The Brady Bunch, television, adaptation, family, spoof, satire, Shelley Long, Gary Cole, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Christine Taylor, Jennifer Elise Cox, Tim Matheson, Arlene Sanford, Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan, Alan Ladd Jr.

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