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 »
I have to admit that I am a sucker for "The Brady Bunch", although I was not a child of the 70's. I was born in 1982, and I became a fan the same way other people my age did: I caught up with the show on syndication. When I was 12 or 13, I would spend summers waiting in anticipation for 4:00 to roll around, which was when the show would come on TBS. I knew the show was entirely unrealistic and often times cheesy as heck. I still loved watching it, though. It remains a guilty pleasure.
That said, fans of the Brady Bunch like me will love this movie for its familiarity. I can't say the same for people who aren't fans, and who don't know Marsha from Jan, or who wonder why anyone would name a dog Tiger. It's the same as when Siskel & Ebert gave "The Brady Bunch Movie" two thumbs down: it was clear they didn't get the inside jokes of the movie.
"Growing Up Brady" is a behind the scenes expose for lack of a better word. It was a made-for-TV movie based on the book of the same name written by Barry Williams, who stars as himself (older, not younger) and narrates part of the film. As far as made-for-TV movies go, this one is pretty good. It told a great story, and did in fact make me want to know more.
I have not read the book yet, but something gives me the feeling that the book wasn't just about Williams' relationship with Maureen McCormack, who played Marsha on the show. From the beginning of the film, it is implied that Williams gets asked more about whether or not he had sex with McCormack than any other question. It's unfortunate, too, because if I ever met the guy in real life, I would have a lot of other questions for him about the show.
Interestingly enough, the movie seemed to try to make the viewers care about the relationship between Williams and McCormick. Fortunately, that wasn't the only thing the movie covered. I loved the scene where the Brady brothers (or actors playing them) went around the Paramount set playing. It was especially cool when they stole props from the "Star Trek" set (even though the original series was actually canceled by the time "The Brady Bunch" made its debut, but no matter). It really was a relief for me to see that these kids were just as mischievous in real life as I was, and not as picture perfect as the sitcom made you believe.
I also liked how the movie examined the Brady kids' relationship with Sherwood Schwartz, whose name appeared prominently in the credits but who many other Brady Bunch fans don't know too much about. I liked how the show's creator, played very well by Michael Tucker, served as more of a grandfather figure to the kids. I also liked the dichotomy of how Schwartz tried to be reasonable when cast members, particularly Robert "Mike Brady" Reed (played in this movie by Daniel Hugh Kelly) were difficult to work with. If the producers of this movie ditched the Greg-Marsha complex altogether, they still would have had a good movie with Schwartz alone trying to put the show together.
Being a made-for-TV movie, this film was not without its faults. For instance, the kid who played the young Barry Williams (Adam Brody) acted well, but it's almost as if he stayed 13 from season 1 to season 5. Anyone who has seen part of each season knows that all the Brady kids grew up considerably over the five seasons, and virtually every teenager looks more noticeably different at 13 than he or she does at 18. Having different actors come in would have increased the realism, but I can understand if they didn't have the budget to do it.
I also didn't understand the subplot where the young Barry Williams had a crush on Florence Henderson (Rebeccah Bush). I mean, it's understandable when he's 13, but five years later? Really? I read somewhere in a trivia book that Williams did actually go out to dinner with Henderson, which I always assumed was just a friendly gesture. The movie didn't mention the fact that when Henderson was on "The Brady Bunch", she had been married since 1956 (in a marriage that would last until 1985) and had already had four children of her own. The real life Williams had to have known that.
I was also a bit let down by the girl who played Maureen McCormick (Kaley Cuoco). Maybe this is the Brady Bunch fan speaking, but although Cuoco is pretty, she had nothing on the real McCormack in terms of looks. Perhaps I've been spoiled by "The Brady Bunch Movie", where Christine Taylor looked (and still looks) identical to McCormick. Cuoco also wasn't very convincing as an actress, either. During crucial scenes, particularly when young Williams comes very close to sleeping with her, she just sounded bored and not very into her scene. A better McCormick could have been cast, and not just a Marsha lookalike.
Last but not least, the movie's ending seemed too abrupt. I would have liked to have seen more about how Williams coped with having the show being canceled, what kind of contact he has with McCormick today, and what he thinks of the show right now. Was it good for his career, or bad? I mean, this information is probably covered in his book, but it would have been great to see that on film. I felt a bit let down that they left so much out, although it was great to see the real Sherwood Schwartz make a cameo in the end. It was almost as if the filmmakers forgot about the juicy gossip, and made a touching tribute in spite of themselves. I'd like to think so.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?