I saw the 1994 live action "Flintstones" movie on video for the second time in 2000, about 4 ½ years after I first saw it, and thought it was great during my second viewing. That was shortly after this prequel, featuring a different cast, came to the silver screen, and I remember hearing about this film around that time. Since I was not nearly as impressed during my last couple viewings of 1994's "The Flintstones" (both many years after my second), I was in no hurry to see "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas", especially since I knew it had an even worse reputation than its predecessor. It's been over 2 ½ years since I last saw the first live action "Flintstones" effort, and I've finally seen this second one, which is unsurprisingly not good.
The Great Gazoo is an alien who is sent to Earth by his species to learn about human mating rituals. Back on Earth, in the prehistoric town of Bedrock, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble are two best friends who are both in search of girlfriends. They are the first ones Gazoo sees after he lands on the planet, so he decides to follow them around, even though he annoys them. Meanwhile, a rich young woman named Wilma Slaghoople is fed up with the snobbish people around her, especially her mother, and runs away. She goes to a restaurant and meets a waitress named Betty O'Shale, and they quickly become friends. Fred and Barney go to this restaurant and meet the two women. Fred gets a date with Betty and Barney gets one with Wilma. When the four of them go out together, Fred and Barney end up swapping girlfriends, but both of them are successful with their romance. Both couples are invited by Chip Rockefeller, Wilma's rich and arrogant ex-boyfriend, to his resort in Rock Vegas, but what they don't realize is that this is just a cruel scheme for Chip to win Wilma back!
The main problem with the 1994 film is that it simply isn't funny, and that's most certainly a major issue with this prequel as well. The only part of this film I couldn't keep a straight face while watching was the "I'm ignoring you" part. There's one memorably lame moment with a farting dinosaur, and most of the other gags are just mediocre. I was also not impressed with many of the performances here. Mark Addy may not be bad as Fred, and I guess Stephen Baldwin isn't that bad as Barney, though I definitely preferred Rick Moranis' portrayal of the character in the first film. These performances certainly aren't great, however, and I certainly didn't care for Kristen Johnston and Jane Krakowski as Wilma and Betty respectively. Also, Alan Cumming plays two characters, which are Gazoo and Mick Jagged (obviously based on real-life Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger), and both his performances fail, especially the former, I would say. At the beginning, showing Gazoo with other members of his species on a spaceship before he is sent to Earth, it already looks like this is going to be a very unfunny comedy movie, and unfortunately, that beginning sequence doesn't lie.
The first live action film adaptation of "The Flintstones" was a critical failure but a box office success, whereas "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" was both a critical AND box office flop. After watching it, that doesn't surprise me. I can't really think of anything wrong with the 1994 release other than the absence of laughs, but I would say that REALLY brings it down if quality, since it is supposed to be a comedy. Just like its predecessor, this prequel failed to make me laugh even one time, but this second film of the two also has inferior cast performances, and maybe a slightly more boring plot as well (I'm not 100% sure about that, as it's been a while since I last watched the first film), which makes it even worse. I only found it a BIT worse than the 1994 film, and don't absolutely hate it like many others clearly do, but some could find it a LOT worse, including some of those who like the first film. If you don't like 1994's "The Flintstones", you probably wouldn't like this prequel. If you do like that movie, there's probably STILL a good chance you wouldn't like "Viva Rock Vegas".
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