The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas

dir Brian Levant
scr Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr
with Mark Addy, Kristen Johnston, Jane Krakowski, Stephen Baldwin, Alan Cumming, Thomas Gibson, Joan Collins, Harvey Korman, Alex Meneses, Tony Longo, Danny Woodburn, John Taylor
Universal 00/US 3 out of 5 stars

Review by Rich Cline
In stead of a sequel to the 1994 hit film, Viva Rock Vegas is a prequel, going back in prehistory to tell the story of how pals Fred and Barney met their future wives Wilma and Betty. OK, so this is a completely superfluous film we never really needed to see ... but at least it's funny and jammed with some great little gags, some surprisingly good performances and remarkable special effects.

Here's the story: Slaghoople heiress Wilma (Johnston) is fed up with her uppercrust lifestyle and her boring but rich fiance Chip (Gibson). So she runs away from her doting mother (Collins) and zoned-out father (Korman) and is taken in by kindly waitress Betty (Krakowski), who sets up a double date with two lads who have just graduated from bronto crane academy, Fred and Barney (Addy and Baldwin). Meanwhile, a little green alien called the Great Gazoo (Cumming) is observing human mating rituals, while Chip lays a plot to lure the foursome to his Rock Vegas casino where he can win Wilma back.

Yeah well, who cares about the plot? The film is merely an excuse for Flintstone fans to indulge in witty nostalgia as old cartoon gags are put on screen in live action (the best is the opening scene's dinosaur bridge), although much is just as visually clunky as the first film. The script has a few new gags, in addition to some witty attempts to create backstory to some of the series' endearing elements (how Wilma got her pearls, how they get Dino). And the performances are better than they should be (Addy actually adds subtext to Fred!) with one glaring exception: Baldwin is absolutely awful. Ah never mind, it's all just good fun, and the idea to go back in time is amusing. But I can see the ideas forming: How about Bedrock 90210? And then, of course, The Rockrats.

[U--some innuendo] 8.Jun.00
US release 28.Apr.00; UK release 28.Jul.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall