Hello again! Thank you for joining me today to review “A Very Brady Sequel”! The film came out the year following its predecessor. The entire cast, except David Graf playing Sam, returned for the sequel. The film took a fun poke at one of the most pondered questions from the original series. What happened to Carol’s first husband? I had always assumed the biological father to Marcia, Jan and Cindy had passed away. Some surmised he and Carol divorced. Well, “A Very Brady Sequel” has fun with the question and has hubby number one dawning the Brady doorstep. Let’s begin reviewing “A Very Brady Sequel”!
The story opens with an Indiana Jones-like adventure. Two adventurers find themselves in Thailand unearthing a horse statue. As they seek to leave with their prize, it is stated that the artifact recovered was mailed to the wife of one of the men. Then we see one of the men cut the fuel line on the boat once it is out to sea. This harrowing scene is then followed with a scene from an auction. A horse like the one dug up in Thailand is on the auction block for a whopping $20 million dollars. An auction attendee questions where the other might be as it is shown sitting in the Brady living room. The opening credits soon roll and “A Very Brady Sequel” is underway.
The scenes at the Brady home begin like an episode of the series. Jan and Marcia arrive home from the last day of school before summer break. Jan is still a loser and Marcia still a pompous beauty. Mike Brady scoffs at the idea of cable TV even being possible as he ends a phone call. Upstairs, Peter shares with Carol he is not excited at the prospect of working alongside Mike at the architecture firm that summer or in even being an architect. Regular viewers will recall this was a dilemma Greg faced in the original series. It was interesting how it was changed up for the movie.
We see Alice in the kitchen mixing up a batch of pink muck that will eventually be a meatloaf. Alongside it is a huge tub of lard. This gave me a chuckle as even the unhealthy ways of the 1970s are part of the Brady’s own little sphere. Although, I have heard that lard does add a very scrumptious flavor to some foods. I don’t remember my mom ever using it in the 1980s and I have never even noticed it for sale in a store. Readers, if any of you can attest to what lard adds to a dish (aside from very unhealthy calories and fats), please share. One will also notice a large quantity of salt in use in the scene.
Some plot points of old are inserted into the opening of the film. Greg seeks to be a man and wears clothes almost identical (if not so) to those worn in the original episode. The attic room is a bone of contention between Greg and Marcia. The pair seek to settle occupancy via building a house of cards. As they partake of the card building contest, a basketball comes sailing down from upstairs and misses Carol’s favorite vase. It does result in grape juice being spilled on the valuable horse, making it necessary to be sent out for repairs.
Soon, the fun new element (that in my opinion made this film better than the first) is introduced. Carol’s first husband graces the Brady doorstep! He explains away his change in appearance by regaling the kids with tales of adventure. An elephant stepped on his head, making reconstructive surgery necessary. Being tortured on a rack increased his height. Peter is especially enamored with Carol’s ex-husband.
The assumed Roy Martin was played by Tim Matheson. While he has a very familiar face, I could not name another movie or show I’ve seen him in. A check of his acting resume shows he was in the film “Yours, Mine and Ours” which some attribute to being the inspiration of the original Brady Bunch series. Some also dispute this. Other acting credits include “Magnum Force”, “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”.
Jan’s woes continue as we see her preparing for bed. Savvy viewers will notice the bowl of lemons on the bathroom counter among her other beauty treatments. The next day, just before she seeks fatherly counsel from her assumed biological dad, Roy Martin is revealed to be a fraud. Whoever this guy is, he is there to steal the valuable artifact horse. He suggests Jan solve her love-life issues via a faux boyfriend. This launches a humorous George Glass subplot.
The attic subplot continues as Greg and Marcia are sharing the space. This was the solution Mike came up with when the siblings were feuding over the space. In the nonsensical and aloof version of the Bradys this movie gives us, this is funny writing. Mike and Carol always did encourage their children to share and share alike. However, suggesting two teenagers of the opposite sex share a space like this is just silly. With the newfound knowledge that Greg and Marcia may no longer be stepbrother and stepsister, the pair look at one another in a new light and hormones rage. This is one of those risque elements introduced into the wholesome show of old that I did not care for in either movie.
At the local pool, Jan tries to fuel the George Glass ruse. In a husky voice, she makes a call to have herself paged by George. The plot fails when Marcia fails to hear the page because of another pool goer’s loud music. Jan soon encounters her guidance counselor, Ms. Cummings, from the first movie. RuPaul reprises the role for this film.
While Jan chats with Ms. Cummings, a funny scene plays out. Ms. Cummings’ own three daughters walk up and appear to be trio quite similar to the Brady girls. The oldest sister is a babe who enjoys combing her flowing locks. The middle child suffers angst in the shadow of her sister and laments how it is always, “Moesha, Moesha, Moesha!”
“Roy Martin” gives Peter a set of nunchaku (aka nunchuks). Upon bringing them to Mike’s office, Peter conks Mr. Phillips in the head with them. Mike chides Peter that drumsticks are not toys. Peter corrects him that they are weapons. Mike replies that weapons are not toys either. For some reason this got a good laugh out of me. Mr. Phillips was played by Steven Gilborn in both films. If I had not checked, I would have sworn he played a role at some point on the original series. He just has that look about him. That was not the case though as IMDB lists his first acting role in 1983. I will always remember him as Mr. Collins from The Wonder Years. Steven Gilborn died in 2009.
“Roy Martin” suffers a visit to an outdoor mall with the Brady kids. It was chance to show the culture clash between the lives of the Bradys and an outsider and for them to perform song and dance. It was a fun scene that ends with him wearing some very Brady like attire.
An unexpected homage to another corner of the Brady universe is worked into “A Very Brady Sequel”. Alice finds some mushrooms among “Roy Martin’s” things and surmises he would like them as part of his meal. She includes them with some spaghetti, sending Roy on an drug fueled hallucination full of images of The Brady Kids cartoon. Along with the cartoon versions of the kids, we see Ping and Pong the pandas and Marlon the magic bird. When I first saw this in 1996, I was not familiar with the cartoon at all, so this bit completely escaped my memory. Seeing the cartoon worked into this plot was a fun surprise.
In an added bit of humor, Alice also partook of the spaghetti and is seen exiting the scene via the Brady’s refrigerator.
Peter, following Mr. Martin’s advice, tries to be tough on the job with Mike. He chides some burly construction workers for loafing on the job. They laugh at Peter’s failed attempt at taking charge and suggest he should become part of the cement being mixed that day. This scene is a fine example of why I enjoyed the sequel more than the original. This was just a funny bit with one of the Bradys that wasn’t trying to mimic some scene or plot from the original series.
Another touch of the old series comes about as Greg and Marcia attempt a date rivalry with Kathy Lawrence and Warren Mulaney. This worked into romantic subplot involving Greg and Marcia. The courting couples visit a coffee shop. The only eye rolling moment for the film came when Jan enters the same establishment with a mannequin/doll that is supposed to be George Glass. I realize this is a satire/comedy, but this was just dumb and unfunny for me. The earlier scene where Jan tried to call 555-HUNK to create the ruse that she was speaking to George on the phone was quite funny. Marcia snatches the phone and invites George to Mike and Carol’s anniversary party. Upon learning it will “cost extra”, Jan’s ruse is busted. The George Glass subplot should have ended there, but continued onto this nonsense at the coffee shop.
Roy Martin fails to obtain the prized horse at a charity auction as he is outbid by Zsa Zsa Gabor. This was her final film role. He steals the horse for himself and goes on the run. As part of his villainous ways, he kidnaps Carol and ties up all the Brady kids and Alice. The camera pans along each character’s mug as they all think to themselves how the predicament is his or her own fault. All of them except Marcia, who blames Jan. An added touch of humor is played out as even Cindy’s doll is tied up. Mike arrives home to find his family tied up and Roy Martin exposed as a con-man. He lets the family know they are pursuing Roy and Carol to Hawaii.
Mike learns of Roy Martin’s not being Roy Martin by paying a visit to the LAPD. There we get a fun cameo by Richard Belzer. He was recognizable to me via his role on Law and Order: SVU, but at the time would have been recognized as John Munch from Homicide: Life On The Street. The precinct is abuzz with activity dealing with grisly murders and street crime. Mike Brady enters demanding an instant background check on a no-gooder at his home.
En route to Hawaii, the Brady kids attempt a song and dance number, much to the chagrin of the other passengers. A stewardess soon shuts this down via an announcement on the plane’s public address system. The kids silently dance back to their seats. In Hawaii, Roy rents a jeep to travel about the island in. Savvy viewers will notice the car rental agent’s name tag reads Mr. Hanalei. With Carol in tow, Mr. Martin races to meet his buyer of the horse artifact. He soon finds his jeep disabled as the taboo idol punctures a tire. The pair proceed on foot to meet the buyer as the Bradys and Alice give chase.
Things come to a head at the home of Dr. Whitehead. The character’s name is a fun nod to the professor who the boys encountered in Hawaii in the original series. For the film, Dr. Whitehead was played by John Hillerman. This was a nice attribute to the series Magnum P.I. that was set in Hawaii where Hillerman played Jonathan Quayle Higgins. My favorite line of the movie is delivered as we learn that Dr. Whitehead’s own son, Gilligan, was aboard the same boat that the real Roy Martin was lost at sea on. What a fantastic tie-in to Sherwood Schwartz other infamous sitcom. Mike saves the day as he knocks Carol’s captor into a fountain.
Back at the Brady home, the still married couple celebrate their anniversary with a second wedding. Carol is wearing a dress very similar to the one seen in the pilot episode. Mike has on a tuxedo more fitting a bad nightclub performer. While in Hawaii, Jan met a genuine George Glass and he is at the anniversary celebration. A surprising reference to the Bradys of old is seen as there is a quick shot of Cousin Oliver. He is seen chasing Tiger after he runs across the table. The film ends on a strange note as Jeannie, from I Dream of Jeannie appears in the Brady driveway claiming to be Mike’s wife. This was a bit of a headscratcher for me. I Dream of Jeannie and The Brady Bunch have nothing in common aside from being classic sitcoms. I adore Barbara Eden, but she just seems out of place here.
As stated before, I enjoyed “A Very Brady Sequel” much more than “The Brady Bunch Movie”. Unlike the original, the second installment did not feel like the writers were trying to cram as many original episode plots and jokes into a single film. While some of that continued, it was a bit more subtle than in the original film. At least one critic agreed with me as Gene Siskel stated this movie was “A genuine movie rarity – a sequel better than the original.” Please share with us your own thoughts and opinions of “A Very Brady Sequel”!
In a few weeks we will be reviewing “The Bradys”. I’ve never watched a single episode of the series, but from what has been shared online and by others, the show was a total miss. Maybe that won’t be the case! See you soon.