The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Young bachelors and best friends Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble have recently qualified as crane operators at Slate & Company. Soon to be employed, now they want dates, and little green alien The Great Gazoo, exiled to Earth by his species, offers to help, although only they can see him. Meanwhile, Wilma Slaghoople wants a normal life and activities, like bowling, despite her controlling mother Pearl, who wants her to marry smooth casino-owner Chip Rockefeller. Wilma angrily runs away to Bronto King in Bedrock. Waitress Betty O’Shale mistakes her as “caveless”, and offers to share her apartment, and gets her a job.

Fred and Barney are smitten with the waitresses and invite them to a carnival, with Fred dating Betty and Barney taking Wilma. Fred wins a carnival game and gets a prize of an egg which hatches into a baby dinosaur, whom he names “Dino”. However, he does not really feel a connection with Betty, nor does Barney with Wilma, until both men switch dates. Wilma invites her new friends home to a birthday party for her father, Colonel Slaghoople, where all are shocked by her wealth. Fred intends to propose, but changes his mind after meeting Chip, who berates him for his low-level job at Slate & Company. Pearl dislikes the three new friends, but the Colonel accepts them, glad Wilma is happy, and privately gives her a valuable pearl necklace that once belonged to his great-grandmother. After the boys disgrace themselves at dinner, Wilma nevertheless proclaims her pride and follows them out.

Chip congratulates Fred on attracting Wilma and apologizes for his humiliation of Fred’s job. He invites the four to his Rock Vegas resort as a peace offering. However, this is a plot by Chip to hope Fred gambles so Wilma dumps him, whereas Fred sees it as a chance to win big so he can impress Wilma with money like Chip’s. Chip and his girlfriend Roxie are visited by two gangsters named Big Rocko and Little Rocko to collect a lot of money owed by Chip, who claims his upcoming marriage to Wilma will get him access to the Slaghoople fortune, and the gangsters consider that plan creditable, so they agree to suspend collections until after the wedding. Gazoo witnesses the entire conversation. When Barney tries to keep Fred from high-stakes poker, Chip sends Roxie to seduce Barney for an escort to an All-You-Can Eat buffet.

Chip keeps Fred gambling to miss his dinner date with the others. Betty sees Barney wipe cream from Roxie’s chest and misinterprets the move as a pass. Mick Jagged comforts the weeping girl, and they go on a date. Wilma breaks up with Fred over not spending any time with her. Chip warns her of burglaries and arranges that Fred loses everything before slipping Wilma’s pearls in Fred’s pocket and asking him to empty them. Hotel security arrests Fred for robbery. When Barney protests that Fred would do no such thing, and that Fred wouldn’t even be able to crack his own knuckles without help, Chip accuses Barney of being Fred’s accomplice and has him arrested as well. Angered that the two of them stole from her, Wilma goes back to Chip.

In prison, the men are visited by Gazoo, who earlier spied on Chip. Gazoo reveals that Chip is in severe debt to the mob, and hoped to solve both his problems by framing Fred for the robbery and plans to marry Wilma in order to get the Slaghooples’ money. Barney slips through the bars, steals the keys, and unlocks the cell. Disguised as dancers, they accidentally run into Jagged’s dressing room. Barney tells Betty he loves her, and they get back together.

Fred plans to disguise himself as Jagged in attempt to reconcile with Wilma. Meanwhile, in the audience, Chip proposes to Wilma, but she is unresponsive. Fred then comes on stage disguised as Jagged and briefly sings to Wilma. He apologizes for his behavior earlier before proposing to her. Wilma happily accepts, rejecting Chip, and they marry in the Rock Vegas Chapel of Love, while the gangsters prepare to make Chip pay in their own manner. After the Pastor proclaims them husband and wife, everyone sings “Meet the Flintstones”. When Jagged sings “Viva Rock Vegas” at a party, Betty catches Wilma’s tossed bouquet and kisses Barney. The newlyweds drive away with Dino and Gazoo to goodbye waves from their friends, family, and even Chip and Roxie.

REVIEW:

I think it is safe to say that many of us grew up watching The Flintstones. For those around my age and younger, it was through reruns, but I am sure there are those that were around for the original run. This is the second time they have been brought to the big screen in live action. Considering the cold reception the previous film received, hopefully this will be better.

What is this about?

Yabba-dabba-doo! Digital dinosaurs rule the day when Fred (Mark Addy), Barney (Stephen Baldwin), Betty (Jane Krakowski) and Wilma (Kristen Johnston) take Vegas by storm in this prequel that posits their lives before marriage. A staple of the old Hanna-Barbera cartoon series — The Great Gazoo (Alan Cumming) — also makes an appearance.

What did I like?

Cartoon loyalty. It has been awhile since I last saw The Flintstones, but I seem to recall they put a few gags from the cartoon in there, just enough to keep audiences aware that it was a live action version of the popular cartoon. With this prequel, the filmmakers decided to go all the way with it. Everything from the appliances breaking the fourth wall to the sound effects of Fred tiptoeing as he bowls was there and, in this concept, it really works!

First time for everything. The Great Gazoo is far from the best character Hanna-Barbera created. As a matter of fact, I never really bought into what he was there for, other than he had magic powers of some sort. My guess is he was brought in for ratings, much like the young, cute kid on sitcoms that are getting long in the tooth. Gazoo’s appearance in this film has the same effect it did in the cartoon, leaving the audience perplexed, but at least they tried, right?

Meeting. Fred, Barney, Betty, and Wilma seem to have been together forever. There was even that Saturday morning cartoon, The Flintstone Kids that had them as friends as far back as elementary school (apparently Dino was Fred’s pet even back then). I’m not sure that was canon history, though. Admit it, you’re just as curious as I am as to how they all met, right? A random meeting at a fast food restaurant seems to be good enough because the rest, as they say, is history.

What didn’t I like?

Casting. People complained when Rosie O’Donnell was cast as Betty. I thought she did a pretty good job, honestly. Jane Krakowski brought a different tone to the character than I’m not sure I was a fan of, but that’s personal preference. John Goodman was perfect as Fred. Mark Addy…well, this was 2000…give him about 10 yrs to put on some lbs and become Robert Baratheon, then he could be perfect as Fred. Still, he wasn’t bad. Kristen Johnson as Wilma was passable. Joan Collins seemed like she was trying to imitate Elizabeth Taylor, rather than make her own take on Mrs. Slaghopple. That brings us to lovable Barney. First off, Rick Moranis was a solid Barney and fit what we expect him to look like, mostly. Stephen Baldwin is too tall, looks like a stoner, and just doesn’t feel like Barney. What idiot cast him in this role?!?

TV effects. I was about to go on an epic rant about the special effects, but then I remembered that this was made in 2000, and the technology wasn’t there, yet. That said, I still was not impressed with the CG on Dino, Gazoo, and the other creatures. Some look better than others, I will say that. The dinosaurs look as if they were made for an amusement part ride, yet creatures such as the bird in the remote control look like bad puppets. Gazoo is the worst offender of them all, as he is nothing more than Alan Cumming’s head in green pain on a pear shaped CG body that was lazily rendered.

All comes down to money. Money, money, money…it seems that is all people care about these days. Take a look at our current presidential candidates. Most of us are going to vote for the lesser of two evils, whichever that may be, but that won’t matter because the one that has the most money backing them is going to win. In this film, we learn that Wilma, who comes from money, doesn’t care about it, yet her ex-boyfriend, who reminds me a lot of the villain from the last film, is all about money, especially since he owes a debt to the mob. He does any and everything to get Fred out of the picture so he can marry Wilma and not be “sleeping with the fishes”. Yeah, you can guess how that turns out, right? We’ve seen this plot a billion times and it never ends well for the bad guy.

Final verdict on The Flintsones in Viva Rock Vegas? This makes a valiant attempt at correcting the things that were heavily criticized in the previous film, as well as giving us a reason to care that this is another live action Flintstones film. However, some predictable plotlines, horrid casting, and bad timing hurt this film more than anything else. I found it mildly entertaining, at best. Do I recommend it? No, not really. There are better things you can waste 90 minutes on.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

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2 Responses to “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas”

  1. Deepthroat Ghoul Says:

    After having such a financial smash hit with the first Flintstones movie, they got so much wrong with this prequel.

    In the cartoon, Barney was the smarter of the two, since he was always warning Fred about the consequences of his actions. In Viva Rock Vegas, he’s retarded. I mean, how did Barney go from being retarded to a genius in the original 1994 film? Also, Fred was the one who ate a lot, not Barney.

    I really like Barney, but this movie’s portrayal of him really disgusts me.

    Also, the scene where Chip monologues his evil plan seems very similar to what the 1994 film’s villain Cliff Vandercave did.

  2. Mystery Man Says:

    so, you weren’t a fan of this film, either, I take it?

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