From 1969 to 1974, then in syndication forever, the Brady Bunch presented the clean and fun adventures of a blended family. Personally, I loved the 1990’s The Bradys TV show, because it tried to inject massive gravitas into a show that never came near it. Regardless, twenty years after the show went off the air, Betty Thomas directed this tribute to the show.
Real estate developer Larry Dittmeyer (Michael McKean, always a welcome bad guy) has sold every house on the block except to one: the Bradys. The family is the same as you remember them and by that, they’re stuck in 1974 while the rest of the world has moved on. I love that this is never explained. People just move on.
The other joy of this film is that it references nearly every major plotline from the show. And many of the cast members show up, like Florence Henderson as Grandma Brady, Barry Williams as a music producer and Christopher Knight as a gym teacher. Maureen McCormick, Susan Olsen and Mike Lookinland’s scenes were all deleted. There’s an awesome inside joke here as Ann B. David shows up, but not as Alice the maid. Instead, she plays a truck driver named Schultzy, which is the character she played on The Bob Cummings Show. Only Eve Plumb refused to participate and sadly, Robert Reed died three years before the movie was made.
Even Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork of The Monkees show up, as well as RuPaul, David Leisure and Jean Smart. And kudos to Gary Cole (shoutout to anyone who remembers his show Midnight Caller) and Shelley Long — as well as all of the kids — for being perfect in their roles.
This movie is a great introduction to the Bradys or a great remembrance of them. Sure, it makes fun of them, but it never feels rude or mean. It feels like it really loves its subject matter.