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Paramount Studios presents
A Very Brady Sequel (1996)

Marcia: I'm so happy for you, Jan.
Jan: Really, Marcia?
Marcia: No.

- Christine Taylor, Jennifer Elise Cox

Review By: Joel Cunningham  
Published: June 10, 2003

Stars: Shelley Long, Gary Cole
Other Stars: Christine Taylor, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Jennifer Elise Cox, Paul Sutera, Alivia Hack, Jesse Lee, Henriette Mantel, Tim Matheson
Director: Arlene Sanford

Manufacturer: Technicolor
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sex-related humor and some drug content
Run Time: 01:29m:50s
Release Date: June 10, 2003
UPC: 097363324447
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+B+B D-

DVD Review

The Brady Bunch Movie was funniest when it illustrated just how out of place a sunny brood like the Bradys would be in the 1990s. A Very Brady Sequel, released one year after the first film made a small but profitable dent in the box office, is more of the same, but it's even more successful because it constructs a plot that hinges upon the family's innocently warped worldview.

Carol Brady (Shelley Long) gets the shock of her life when her long-lost first husband Roy (father to Cindy, Jan, and Marcia) shows up at the door after years lost at sea. She thinks it's odd that he looks different, and with good reason—this isn't the real Roy, it's an imposter (Tim Matheson), a former partner who shipwrecked the real Roy to collect the profits from a priceless statue recovered in an archeological dig. Before he could, real Roy mailed the ceramic horse to his wife, and faux-Roy wants it back. He's able to cover for his changed appearance, though. "An elephant stepped on my face," he says, and of course, Mrs. Brady believes him.

This frankly preposterous plot opens up some wonderful comedic avenues and allows for enough fresh material that the sequel doesn't just feel like a repeat. Mike isn't bothered by the interloper in his home, since the Bradys are always hospitable, but Carol is torn between the two men. So she decides she needs a haircut. It finally dawns on Marcia (Christine Taylor) and Greg (Christopher Daniel Barnes) that they have different parents, and all of a sudden they can't keep their eyes off one another. They try to filter their hormonal instincts through their Sunshine Day worldview, resulting in a bizarre double date where they both ignore their respective sweeties and just talk about each other. "Marcia, tell them about how you style your hair!" prompts Greg, a little too excitedly.

Poor Jan (the once again pitch-perfect Jennifer Elise Cox) is sadly no longer hearing voices, but she's as insecure as ever. She invents herself a boyfriend and keeps up the ruse by sending herself flowers and calling phone sex lines and asking if they want to talk to her sister. Little Bobby and Cindy (Jesse Lee and Alivia Hack) team up to find a lost toy and end up stumbling over proof that Roy isn't who he says he is, and when confronted, Roy kidnaps Mrs. Brady and runs off to Hawaii to sell the statue ("Don't take mom! Take Jan!" begs Marcia).

A Very Brady Sequel presents an even greater contrast between the real world and the Brady outlook. In Hawaii, Carol laments, "I wish I could be gay again! I miss Marsha... and Jan... and Cindy!" and earns some odd looks. Alice (Henriette Mantel) finds some mushrooms in Roy's things and makes him "exotic" spaghetti, resulted in a trippy sequence that recalls the old animated Brady cartoon. RuPaul reprises her role as the cross-dressing sex ed counselor who tells Jan that "she better work." Director Arlene Sanford is, like her predecessor, able to match the look of the original series, and script co-writers Debra Kaplan and Harry Elfont (who adapted another TV show into the woefully underrated Josie and the Pussycats), along with two others, contrive even more satirical adventures for the ever optimistic bunch of Bradys.

One thing I wondered while watching the first film: where do the Bradys find all of their ugly 1970s clothing and kitsch? The sequel reveals the obvious answer: the vintage clothing district.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: A Very Brady Sequel looks fairly good on DVD. The anamorphic transfer features bright, saturated colors, but they look a bit fuzzy at times, and fleshtones look a bit orange. Otherwise, though, black level is good, as is fine detail. The print shows a bit of grain and some occasional speckles, but nothing out of the ordinary. There aren't any obvious instances of edge enhancement or artifacting.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: This is a fun 5.1 mix that suits the film well, but most of the action is confined to the front soundstage. Dialogue comes across clearly and is anchored in the center channel. The front mains do well with the sound effects gags, which utilize panning and directional effects nicely. The score fills out the mix, particularly during the Brady sing-a-longs, and the surrounds provide a bit of support. There could be more atmospheric effects, but they aren't missed, either.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 23 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Sadly, no supplements are included, not even the trailer. I think it's time for Paramount to change, to rearrange their DVD priorities and at least include minimal extras on their catalogtitles (Sha na na na na na na na na!).

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

A Very Brady Sequel is even funnier than the first film, a sharper satire with better gags and an inspired premise. The DVD is middling, with fine audio and video but a dearth of supplemental material. Still, heartily recommended. It even has a social agenda!

"Greg, there's a new thing called Women's Lib, and it means women get whatever they want." -Marcia

 


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