The Brady Bunch Movie is a 1995 American comedy film based on the 1969–1974 television series The Brady Bunch. The film 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, and parodied the resulting culture clash. The film was a hit and was followed by A Very Brady Sequel in 1996 and a television film called The Brady Bunch in the White House in 2002.
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
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.
In a subplot, Marcia is asked by popular Doug Simpson (Shane Conrad) to go to the school dance with him, when she had already promised to go with nerdy Charlie Anderson (R.D. Robb). She explains the "difficulty" of the choice to her friend, Noreen (Alanna Ubach), unaware that she is a lesbian and is herself attracted to Marcia. Marcia ends up breaking her promise to Charlie.
On the night of the dance, Doug takes her to a lookout point where he French kisses her, only for her to say that she's not interested. He abandons her at the side of the road, but she is rescued when a limousine arrives. She later arrives at the dance and introduces the star performer of the night, Davy Jones. He gets a rousing reception from the teachers, and when the backing rock band charges up his performance, the kids respond, too. Marcia apologizes to Charlie, who forgives her and asks her to dance with him.
Larry discovers that the Bradys have past-due property taxes and confronts Mike, only to learn that he has finally sold one of his designs and has the money he needs. Larry secretly meets with the client, claiming (falsely) that Mike's design resulted in a building collapse, which causes him to lose his advance.
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 & 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), 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 (Jones, Micky Dolenz & Peter Tork, who are all from 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 finally convinces Jan to stop obsessing over 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, and grandma coming into Peter'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 Brady Bunch Movie" was shot almost entirely in Los Angeles, California with the Brady house being located in Sherman Oaks, California.
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 Brady Bunch Movie" 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'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."
Roger Ebert gave the film a two-star rating, saying, "Unfortunately, the movie itself seems to lean too far toward the Brady vision. Even its "modern" side is too innocent. The film establishes a bland, reassuring, comforting Brady reality - a certain muted tone that works just fine but needs, I think, a bleaker contrast from outside to fully exploit the humor. "The Brady Bunch Movie" is rated PG-13, which is a compromise: The Bradys themselves live in a PG universe, and the movie would have been funnier if when they ventured outside it was obviously Wayne's World."
The San Francisco Examiner's Scott Rosenberg said the film is "packed with gags culled from the classic Brady episodes that have been in constant rerun rotation since the original series's cancellation."
Steve Davis from the Austin Chronicle said, "Although the current trend of transforming yesterday's mediocre 30-minute television programs into today's mediocre two-hour movies has got to be one of the seven signs of the apocalypse, The Brady Bunch Movie is much better than most of its ilk."
The Tucson Weekly's Zachary Woodruff called the film "an ideal parody of itself."