The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas

on April 28, 2000 by Mike Kerrigan
   If you liked the first "Flintstones" movie, you will love this one, which is a prequel explaining how Fred and Wilma met and married as well as how Barney and Betty hooked up.

   It is also a lot more fun than the first film, which always seemed to be trying too hard to get laughs. This one is a lot more relaxed and the jokes just seem to bubble to the surface. For example, credits like "Univershell Studios" and "Steven Spielrock" are really not funny. But having a couple of hoods called Rocco is. And so is the headline act at the Vegas casino--Mick Jagged and the Stones.

   The first outing had a legendary list of three dozen writers (not all got screen credit) and many reported technical problems but went on to gross $350 million worldwide. This version has some fabulous visual effects (check out the dinosaur roller coaster) and genuine warmth.

   Mark Addy, who flashed to fame in "The Full Monty," is a quieter and more introverted Fred than John Goodman's brash version in the first one. But Addy, who has obviously spent some time in the gym, gives Fred a warm, human side that was lacking earlier.

   Plotwise, the film starts with space characters (not the Jetsons) looking at earth and sending one of their number, Gazoo, to investigate the human way of reproduction. Gazoo, a huge head on a tiny hovering body, is hilariously played by Alan Cumming (who also essays Mick Jagged).

   Director Levant, who helmed Jingle All the Way", "Problem Child 2" and "Beethoven" as well as the first "Flintstones," gets great performances from the whole cast. The technical credits are excellent. Starring: Mark Addy, Stephen Baldwin, Kristen Johnston and Jane Krakowski. Directed by Brian Levant. Written by Deborah Kaplan & Harry Elfon and Jim Cash & Jack Epps Jr. A Universal release. Comedy. Rated PG for innuendo and brief language. Running time: 90 min

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