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The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas

Starring: Mark Addy, Kristen Johnson
Director: Brian Levant
Rated: PG
RunTime: 91 Minutes
Release Date: April 2000
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Jane Krakowski, Harvey Korman, Alan Cumming, Stephen Baldwin, Joan Collins, Thomas Gibson, John Taylor

Review by MrBrown
2½ stars out of 4

When Universal announced plans to make a prequel to its horrendous 1994 live-action take of the beloved '60s animated TV series, the general reaction was, "WHY?" No one liked the film; in fact, most flat out hated it (myself included), yet it still eked out $100 million-plus gross (thanks to the hype machine)--which, of course, is justification enough in Hollywood. Hence, it would have been easy for returning director Brian Levant to continue to be lazy with the development of the script and simply just pay attention to the production design, as he did in the first film. It appears, however, he felt he had something to prove after the original film's near-universal thrashing.

With _Viva_Rock_Vegas_, Levant is getting a better idea as to how to bring the modern Stone Age family to life. Unlike the original film, the prequel actually has a story, and a cute and interesting one at that: the courtship of Fred (Mark Addy) and Wilma (Kristen Johnston) as well as that of Barney (Stephen Baldwin) and Betty (Jane Krakowski). There are complications, namely the machinations of the wealthy Chip Rockefeller (Thomas Gibson), whom Wilma's snooty mother Pearl (Joan Collins) deems a more suitable match for her daughter. Addy, Krakowski, Baldwin, and Collins are much better fits for their roles than their predecessors (John Goodman, Rosie O'Donnell, Rick Moranis, and Elizabeth Taylor, respectively). Baldwin is especially a surprise; while he looks nothing like his cartoon counterpart, once he opens his mouth, he simply _is_ Barney. As much as Levant does get right here (including, of course, the production design and costumes, which are again perfect to the last detail), two missteps keep me from giving a recommendation. The Great Gazoo (Alan Cumming), a tiny green alien that appeared in a number of the TV episodes, is needlessly and awkwardly incorporated into the story; and Johnston never convinces as Wilma--the look, voice, and attitude is all a bit off. Replace her with the far superior original Wilma, Elizabeth Perkins, and Levant has the makings for a potentially successful third installment--that is, if his writing crew (which, for _Viva_, is far smaller than the infamous 32-person committee employed by the original) can come up with another engaging story. Given the unfavorable odds, all involved would probably be better off leaving well enough alone.

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