A Very Brady Sequel (1996)

“I’m tripping… with the Bradys!”

Justin’s rating: But did Jan ever knock over that 7-11?

Justin’s review: Sometimes the universe smiles at you and gives you a wonderful sequel to a wonderful film, even though both should have never gotten made in the first place. So it is with A Very Brady Sequel, which is an unlikely — but welcome — follow-up to the culture-clashing Brady Bunch Movie of a year before.

With the premise of this strange universe where a perpetually-stuck-in-the-1970s family happens to live in modern day (well, mid-1990s) culture already established, the sequel jumps right in and continues to have fun with the premise while also liberally stealing plotlines from the show. The gleaming innocence of the Bradys allows for so many dark and disturbing jokes to almost seem charming and wholesome.

A Very Brady Sequel upsets the status quo of the family when Carol’s (Shelly Long) dead husband Roy (Tim Metheson) shows up. He’s actually trying to steal a super-rare horse statue that the Bradys own, but it throws Carol and Mike (Gary Cole) into a crisis on the eve of their wedding vow renewals. Of course, Roy is actually a nasty guy who is completely unprepared to have a decade’s worth of shag carpeting and pantsuits unload into his face.

That’s just the loose overall story. The real fun is in all of the various side-stories and subplots that flit in and out. Greg and Marcia start developing some not-so-appropriate feelings for each other while sharing an attic space (I’ll never not laugh at Marcia’s super-deep “Yes Greg?” response to a romantically tense moment). Bobby and Cindy open up a detective agency, but who really cares about them? Carol gets a haircut, Peter starts an internship, Alice bakes disgusting meals, and Mike spouts plenty of rambling moralistic speeches. There’s also plenty of out-of-nowhere weirdness, such as a musical shopping montage, an airplane singalong, and a drug trip scene, that belong here and nowhere else.

However, it’s middle child Jan who once again steals the show, this time while trying to carry on a charade that she actually has a boyfriend. You know, the infamous George Glass. Who turns out to be a mannequin because Jan is completely insane. He shows up later for real, just to mess with everyone’s mind.

And this wouldn’t be a Brady Bunch homage if there wasn’t a far-out vacation to Hawaii, which combines an exotic trip with a not-tense-at-all showdown.

What’s really impressive to me is just how much the core eight Bradys (plus Alice) play their parts completely straight. It wouldn’t work of these actors looked down on these characters or kept winking at the camera. This means that at various points, you can be laughting at the Bradys or with them, but never quite knowing which is more appropriate.

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