A girl finds herself shamed in her small rural town after being raped by a football player. Her boyfriend, her mother and her lawyer all try their best to protect her, but will the local high school put a stop to the harassment?
Brian Austin Green,
The further trials and tribulations of the extended Brady family, with the children all grown up and married and with children. (Originally conceived as a series of TV specials following, "... See full summary »
They may not be on Gilligan's island, but they're still here for a long, long time.
It's funny how the biggest ratings successes aren't always the most enduring shows; in England, for instance, "The Army Game" was a big, big hit whereas "Fawlty Towers" was a bit of a flop when it first aired, but only one of them is still remembered widely today. (Guess which.) Similarly, during its five-year run in America "The Brady Bunch" wasn't really a Nielsen champion the way something like "Family Affair" was, but one of them spawned one animated spinoff, a variety show, two dramatic TV shows, record albums, two big-screen movies (both of them among the better examples of TV-to-cinema transfers), tours, and now three TV movies. It may leave UK audiences bemused, but I suppose US audiences would wonder why snooker is so popular on British TV.
Which brings us to "Growing Up Brady," based on Barry "Greg" Williams and Chris Kreski's book about the former's experiences on the show. I suspect the book would be more interesting to read than this movie is to watch - a bit too much emphasis is put on whether or not he and Maureen "Marcia" McCormack did the deed of darkness for my liking, although the upside (other than a hilarious round of fluffed takes for a bedroom scene - not that kind) is that we do get to see a pre-"8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter" Kaley Cuoco in fetching skimpy swimwear. (Well, that's an upside for lesbians and straight men, anyway.)
The movie's more interesting when it focuses on nearly every other aspect of the show not involving Barry's love life - Daniel Hugh Kelly and Michael Tucker come off well as the late Robert Reed and the still-with-us-at-the-time-of-writing Sherwood Schwartz, and the sight of Reed expressing his distaste at the stuff he has to do in the name of comedy (Reed's previous series had been "The Defenders," so going from that to this must be like going from performing Faulkner to doing Jackie Collins) gives the movie some real edge, a reminder of how harder it is to do this stuff than it looks. But as well as providing a bit of behind-the-scenes-after-the-fact information, it also furnishes some actual entertainment, not least with the kids being encouraged to sing and dance on the show and on tour (shoot me, but I liked "Time To Change").
Some of the casting is a problem - the woman who's supposed to be Ann B. Davis doesn't come close - and as I said I suspect the book will be better, but can you imagine any comedies today having the potential to lead to a TV movie like this? And the feeling of axe-grinding is mercifully absent, making "Growing Up Brady" worth a look for fans of the series, and of US TV shows in general... plus, this is arguably better written than the show that spawned it in the first place.
(P.S.: Why IS snooker so popular on British TV?)
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