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FLINTSTONES IN VIVA ROCK VEGAS

SYNOPSIS:
Flintstones, meet the Flintstones before they were a family. Fred (Mark Addy) is about to earn accreditation as a brontosaurus operator at the Bedrock rock quarry, and has not yet met Wilma, the spoilt but miserable heiress to the fortune of Colonel (Harvey Korman) and Pearl Slaghoople (Joan Collins). We know that Fred will marry Wilma, and best friend Barney will tie a prehistoric not with Betty, but in winning their true loves they must first overcome the devilish designs of Chip Rockefeller (Thomas Gibson) Ė with a little help from pint-sized alien The Great Gazoo (Alan Cummings).

"OK, let's get this straight. Last week I reviewed Dinosaur, a computer-animated film that tries to simulate the look of real dinosaurs (if we knew what real dinosaurs looked like) while having them behave as though they're in a cartoon. This week, I'm reviewing Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, a live-action film based on a cartoon, where computer animation tries to simulate the look of cartoon dinosaurs, except in real life. Confused? Don't worry, the filmmakers seem pretty lost as well. For example, presumably this film is aimed at children, but why would children be interested in the unpleasant, moralistic plot, structured mainly round scenes of social humiliation? Why would adults be interested either? Why is the direction so cramped and awkward - is this because of the huge number of digital effects? Why hire a little-known English guy to play Fred Flintstone? Why hire Stephen Baldwin for anything? Why is the miniature alien voiced by Alan Cumming ('The Great Gazoo') so incredibly annoying? Why are there two cast members returning from Eyes Wide Shut? Above all, why labour to recreate a forgettable '60s cartoon show as a big-budget movie - and once you've done that, why make a sequel? Viva Rock Vegas is Hollywood at its most chaotic yet creatively barren; the only compensation is that almost anything goes in terms of cartoon gags (for example, when Fred is made to 'feel small,' we see him literally shrinking). The pantomime flavour, plus the frequent use of rewritten rock songs (including the title tune) makes you wonder why they didn't go that extra mile and make it a musical. The actors struggle not to embarrass themselves - the exception is bitchy camp diva Joan Collins, who's as self-assured as ever. Why doesn't she make more movies? Questions, questions."
Jake Wilson

"If you consider a brontosaurus breaking wind to be champagne humour youíll love this movie. Everyone else be warned: it reeks so badly, a dinosaur fart would smell like a perfume factory in comparison. Harsh criticism for a kids flick? It isnít. In both ways. It isnít harsh criticism, and the film isnít only aimed at kids. For a while I was at a loss to explain what send ups of Mick Jagger and nudge-nudge sexual innuendos were doing in the land of Bedrock. Then the boulder dropped. Itís also aimed at original Flintstone fans. Bad move. Five-year-olds will complain at the filmís banality; Hanna-Barbera-philes will feel like stoning the screenwriters. I thought that co-writers Kaplan and Elfont couldnít do worse than 1998ís Canít Hardly Wait; they could hardly wait to prove me wrong. The jejune jokes and pedestrian plot seem like theyíve been dug up from a prehistoric rock quarry. The drivel posing as dialogue was hardly likely to inspire brilliant performances, and a dazed-looking Baldwin plays Barney not so much as a dimwit of the Stone Age, but a drongo of the Stoned Age; while Kirsten Johnstonís facial expressions suggest she thought she was playing the alien rather than Alan Cumming Ė whose dual roles as Gazoo and Mick Jagged are rare positives in this dinosaur-sized disaster. Even some fun with the obligatory anachronisms Ė we still donít know which came first, the dinosaur or the egg, but turquoise nail polish was apparently popular long before shoes and stockings Ė doesnít provide much relief. The first Flintstones movie was bad. This prequel is a lot worse. Three words of advice if theyíre planning a third live-"action" adaptation: Yabba Dabba Donít!"
Brad Green

"It's difficult to know the intended audience for this latest Flintstones installment. Visually it looks like a kiddie flick - lots of bright colours, dinosaurs as fun park rides, and cute little creatures. The actors ham it up just as cartoon characters always have. Yet the premise is largely an adult one. Gazoo (Alan Cumming) has been sent from another planet to observe the mating rituals of earthlings. As an adult concept there would have been plenty of material to mine here, but as family entertainment this material is off limits and so the premise is unable to drive the movie. What we are left with is lots of colour and movement, few jokes that work, a less than engaging story, and Dino (Fred and Wilma's pet dinosaur) as a baby. Puppy Dino rates right off the 'awwww how cute is that' scale. Unfortunately, the human cast doesn't hold the same appeal. Apparently production was delayed to ensure Mark Addy's availability as Fred, yet he never quite captures the character. It may be something as simple as the Englishman's near miss on the American accent. But something doesn't gel, nor does his relationship with Kristen Johnston's Wilma. There appears to be no chemistry between the two and, uncomfortable as it is to suggest a Hollywood actress should be younger when the fight has always been for parts for older actresses, 3rd Rock from the Sun's 32 year old Johnston is too old for the part. She exudes a worldliness (to put it politely) that is not appropriate for the young Wilma. This casting error is symptomatic of the rest of the movie: lots of valid attempts and lots of misses."
Lee Gough

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

FLINTSTONES IN VIVA ROCK VEGAS (G)
(US)

CAST: Mark Addy, Stephen Baldwin, Kristen Johnston, Jane Krakowski, Thomas Gibson, Joan Collins

PRODUCERS: Bruce Cohen

DIRECTOR: Brian Levant

SCRIPT: Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont, Jim Cash, Jack Epps, jnr.

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jamie Anderson

EDITOR: Kent Beyda

MUSIC: David Newman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Christopher Burian-Mohr

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 22, 2000







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