Making the Grades
Recently, I watched a documentary on the original Brady Bunch in which Florence Henderson (the original Brady mom) stated that she is "really tired of everyone picking on the show." She continues, saying she has children and appreciates the wholesome qualities found in the original television series. I couldn't agree more, but do find it interesting that she was willing to participate in the Brady Bunch Movie with a cameo part near the end where she plays a dreadful grandmother with too much makeup.
The Brady Bunch movie is everything the television series wasn't. Now the Brady family is a big joke as they try and wedge their family values into a Los Angeles neighborhood that is full of strange and evil people, the worst being their neighbors, the never-before-seen Ditmeyers. Mrs. Ditmeyer likes to sexually abuse the older Brady boys (although her actions are meant to gain laughs in the movie) while Mr. Ditmeyer wants the Brady's out so he can sell the block to a developer.
Meanwhile, in addition to having every boy in school lusting after her, Marcia is oblivious to the actions of her best friend who is a lesbian. Alice still yearns for Sam the butcher to propose, but now Sam stays overnight, so what does it matter? Jan has voices in her head, but her school counsellor tells her to "come back when she's pregnant." And check that counsellor out closely -- she's actually a he -- RuPaul, a female impersonator.
Totally recreating the Brady environment is what this movie does do well. Everything is authentic, down to the horse in the living room. Even the production style of the movie mimics the television series perfectly. However, most of the humor in the film comes from mocking the Brady's "outdated" family values. If you watch this movie with your family, question your children on the lifestyle differences that are portrayed. Who is likely to be happier in life, the Brady characters, or the people portrayed in the society surrounding them?