The Brady Bunch Movie
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|The Brady Bunch Movie|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Betty Thomas|
|Based on||The Brady Bunch
by Sherwood Schwartz
|Edited by||Peter Teschner|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$54.1 million|
The Brady Bunch Movie is a 1995 American comedy film based on the 1969–1974 television series The Brady Bunch. The film, directed by Betty Thomas and scripted by Laurice Elehwany, Rick Copp, Bonnie and Terry Turner, features all the original regular characters, all played by new actors. It also took the unusual route of placing the original sitcom characters, with their 1970s fashion sense and 1970s sitcom family morality, in a contemporary 1990s setting, drawing humor from the resulting culture clash.
The film was released theatrically in the United States on February 17, 1995 and received mixed to positive reviews from critics and audiences, as well as being a box office success, grossing over $54 million worldwide. It was followed by a second theatrical feature, A Very Brady Sequel, in 1996 and a television film, The Brady Bunch in the White House, in 2002.
The film opens with a montage of scenes reflecting life in the 1990s, with heavy traffic, rushing commuters, and homeless people on the street. Larry Dittmeyer (Michael McKean), an unscrupulous real estate developer, explains to his boss that almost all the families in his neighborhood have agreed to sell their property as part of a plan to turn the area into a shopping mall. The only exception is one family, which prompts his angry boss to ask, "What's their story?" which leads into the opening blue-box credits of The Brady Bunch.
The concept of the film is that although it is set in the 1990s, the Brady family are still portrayed as their 1970s television incarnations and are unaware of the disparity between their lives and their surroundings. The parents, Mike (Gary Cole) and Carol (Shelley Long), are having breakfast prepared by their housekeeper, Alice (Henriette Mantel), while the six children prepare for school. Jan (Jennifer Elise Cox) is jealous of her elder, popular sister Marcia (Christine Taylor); Cindy (Olivia Hack) is tattling about everything she's hearing; Greg (Christopher Daniel Barnes) is dreaming of becoming a singer; Peter (Paul Sutera) is nervous that his voice is breaking; Bobby (Jesse Lee) is excited about his new role as hall monitor at school.
Cindy gives Mike and Carol a tax delinquency notice (which was earlier mistakenly delivered to the Dittmeyers) stating that they face foreclosure on their house if they do not pay $20,000 in back taxes. The two initially ignore the crisis, but when Mike's architectural design is turned down by two potential clients, he tells Carol that they may have to sell the house. Cindy overhears this and tells her siblings and they look for work to raise money to save the house, but their earnings are nowhere near enough to reach the required sum. Mike manages to sell a Japanese company on one of his dated designs, thereby securing the money, only for Larry to sabotage it by claiming that Mike's last building collapsed.
On the night before the Bradys have to move out, Marcia suggests that they enter a "Search for the Stars" contest, the prize of which is exactly $20,000. Jan, having originally suggested this and been rejected, runs away from home. Cindy sees her leave and tattles, and the whole family goes on a search for her. They use their car's C.B. radio, and their transmission is heard by Schultzy (Ann B. Davis, who played Alice in the original series), a driver who picks up Jan and convinces her to return home.
The next day, the children join the "Search for the Stars" contest with a dated performance that receives poor audience response compared to the more modern performances of other bands. However, the judges — Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork, all of the 1960s band The Monkees — vote for them, and they win the contest as a result. The tax bill is paid and their neighbors withdraw their homes from the market, foiling Larry's plan and securing the neighborhood.
The film ends with the arrival of Carol's mother (Florence Henderson, who played Carol in the original series), who finally convinces Jan to stop being jealous of Marcia, only for Cindy to start feeling jealous of Jan.
In the end credits, the Bradys are in their traditional blue boxes, but are updated for the time and include various humorous outtakes, such as Marcia taking over Jan's box, Alice removing her uniform to reveal bondage gear underneath, Mrs. Dittmeyer aggressively seducing the married (and seemingly smitten) Mike, and grandma coming into Carol's box.
- Gary Cole as Mike Brady
- Shelley Long as Carol Brady
- Christopher Daniel Barnes as Greg Brady
- Christine Taylor as Marcia Brady
- Paul Sutera as Peter Brady
- Jennifer Elise Cox as Jan Brady
- Jesse Lee as Bobby Brady
- Olivia Hack as Cindy Brady
- Henriette Mantel as Alice Nelson
- David Graf as Sam Franklin
- Alanna Ubach as Noreen
- Megan Ward as Donna Leonard
- Michael McKean as Larry Dittmeyer
- Jean Smart as Dena Dittmeyer
- Jack Noseworthy as Eric Dittmeyer
- Moriah Snyder as Missy Dittmeyer
- Shane Conrad as Doug Simpson
- Marissa Ribisi as Holly
- R.D. Robb as Charlie Anderson
- Elisa Pensler-Gabrielli as Miss Linley
- RuPaul as Mrs. Cummings
- Darion Basco as Eddie
- Davy Jones as himself
- Micky Dolenz as himself
- Peter Tork as himself
- "Mudd Pagoda" David Darling, vocals; Marc Danzeisen, drums; Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., keyboards; Eric Dover, guitar; and Sheldon Strickland, bass guitar as members of the high school band
- Cameos by original Brady Bunch actors
- Florence Henderson (the original Carol) as the family's grandmother
- Ann B. Davis (the original Alice) as Schultzy, a trucker ("Schultzy" is a reference to her most famous role prior to The Brady Bunch on The Bob Cummings Show)
- Barry Williams (the original Greg) as a record producer who rejects the film's Greg's attempts to sell his song
- Maureen McCormick (the original Marcia) as a Lemonade Lady
- Christopher Knight (the original Peter) as a coach who stops two boys from bullying the film's Peter in a cafeteria scene
- Mike Lookinland (the original Bobby) as a cop
- Susan Olsen (the original Cindy) as a news reporter
The film was shot almost entirely in Los Angeles, California, with the Brady house being located in Sherman Oaks. The school scenes were shot at Taft High School in Woodland Hills. Some scenes were filmed at Bowcraft amusement park in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.
The producers had sought to film the original house that had been used for exterior shots during the original Brady Bunch series, but the owner of the Studio City, California home refused to restore the property to its 1969 appearance. The filmmakers instead erected a facade around a house in nearby Encino and filmed scenes in the front yard.
The film's response among critics has been mixed to positive. It bears a 63% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus stating, "Though lightweight and silly, The Brady Bunch Movie still charms as homage to the 70s sitcom." The film opened at #1 at the box office with $14,827,066 and grossed $46,576,136, in the U.S. and Canada and $7,500,000 overseas making a total gross of $54,076,136 worldwide.
The film was followed by two sequels:
- A Very Brady Sequel sees the family routine thrown into disarray when a man claiming to be Carol's long-lost first husband arrives on their doorstep. The family must then follow Carol to Hawaii in order to set things straight.
- The second sequel, The Brady Bunch in the White House, sees a convoluted series of mishaps end with Mike and Carol Brady elected as President and Vice President of the United States. Despite innocent efforts to improve the country, the Brady family is beset on all sides by controversy and imagined scandals which threaten to tear them apart. Although the original actors for Mike and Carol return, the children and Alice are all recast for this film, which was released as a filmed-for-television movie.
- "IMDb". Amazon.com. Retrieved 27 April 2012.