Better Than The Bunch
Last week I noted how the Star Trek movies are a unique case of a TV cast reuniting to improve on the original. But even when a new cast meets an old show, the results are rarely inspired. Most movies based on TV shows just don't work.
One of the problems is Hollywood, when given a choice, updates the show, trying to make it relevant, but often jettisoning what was charming about it in the fist place.
That's why The Brady Bunch Movie is so impressive. It's a rethinking that actually works. This is partly because the original was fairly ridiculous, and the filmmakers recognized this. So they kept the 70s sensibility, and the silly sets and music, and dumped it into the present--the 90s, that is (which will soon look as dated as the 70s)--and let the laughs come from the culture clash.
It's hard to keep a full-length parody going, but at just under 90 minutes, the movie is light on its feet and doesn't wear out its welcome. It's especially helped by Jennifer Elise Cox as the psychotic Jan, Christine Taylor as the lovely Marcia (she looks just like the original only more beautiful) and, above all, Gary Cole as the gnomic Mike Brady. Cole has the voice down so perfectly that I laugh every time he opens his mouth.