The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas - Internet Movie Database The Flintstone in Viva Rock Vegas - Nitrate Online Review
Contents | Features | Reviews | Books | Archives | Store
The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas - Nitrate Online Store
Movie Credits Buy It!

The Flintstones in 
Viva Rock Vegas

Review by Elias Savada
Posted 28 April 2000

Directed by Brian Levant.

Starring Mark Addy, Stephen Baldwin, Kristen Johnson, Jane Krakowski, Thomas Gibson, Alan Cumming, Harvey Korman, and Joan Collins.

 Written by Deborah Kaplan & Harry Elfont and Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr.

Here’s one that should have stayed buried under a rock pile down at Fred and Barney’s quarry. Six years ago Universal and Amblin Entertainment hoisted the box office flag with the first live action version of popular 1960s animated television series. Although The Flintstones became the fifth best grossing film of 1994 (over $358 million worldwide!), lightning shouldn’t strike twice as the latest variation lays the equivalent of a big, fat dinosaur egg. Of course, marketing conditions can often make mountains out of mole hills -- look at Congo. Commercially successful or not, this film is a brontosaurus-sized bore. Producer Bruce Cohen (American Beauty), in his first effort with partner Dan Jinks, takes whatever bounce was in the original and flattens it with leaden humor. For most adults this will be a prehistoric letdown, although kids will probably tolerate it, attracted to the primary color production design, computer generated imagery, and the lowbrow jokes.

My advice: Run, digitally-enhanced Dino, Run.


Food for comparison: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid grossed nearly $100 million in 1969 dollars. Bravo. Ten years later saw the leaden prequel, Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, belly flop at the box office as fans of the original (and we are many) stayed away in droves. Final box office? Less than $5 million.

“You mean they made a sequel?”

No, I said prequel, which is exactly what the producers have done with The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. Bad scripting and lesser-name casting did the dirt on B&S: The Early Days. History appears to be repeating itself in this journey to time before civilization. The cheapo recipe:

1.     Take stars John Goodman, Elizabeth Perkins, Rick Moranis, Rosie O’Donnell, and Elizabeth Taylor (as Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, and Wilma’s mother).

2.     Replace them with Mark Addy (The Full Monty), Kristen Johnston (Sally Solomon from NBC’s Third Rock from the Sun), Stephen Baldwin (the other brother), Ally McBeal’s Jane Krakowski, and Eighth-Wonder-of-the-Overdressed-World Joan Collins doing her Cruella-De-Vil impersonation.

3.     Arrange for cast to reinvigorate those quaint Bedrock characters in a bright, pre-prehistoric predecessor with a storyline bordering on the asinine and characters as charming as cement. (Someone forgot to hire competent scriptwriters; see above for the guilty credits).

4.     Bring aboard original director Brian Levant, who scored well with the original and Beethoven, but was also responsible for the abominable Problem Child 2 .(Yes, that’s a sequel.)

5.     Toss in weak sight gags, dreadful attempts at borscht belt humor, and a handful of wisecracks that die on impact or explode weeks ahead of time. Example: Fred attempting to compliment Wilma: “Your eyes are like…two big eyes.” The prerequisite flatulence, drag, gay, and ugly sister jokes all backfire.

Addy and Baldwin play Barney and Fred as if they were lame-headed Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton imitations. The two hardworking knuckleheads with bubbly personalities and limited brain power intentionally come off as carefree comic book pawns in love with Stone Age sweeties. Hey if you like that kind of stuff, candy-coated, take this film --  please. In a patented attempt to precivilize the simpleminded narrative, the writers use one contrived notion after another, even to the point of aggressively pushing Universal’s theme park attractions. Red-headed, black eyebrowed Kirsten Johnston is klutzy Wilma Slaghoople, the young heiress and daughter to Colonel (Harvey Korman) and Pearl (Joan Collins), who wants nothing to do with her parents’ millions or the caddish, polo playing Chip Rockefeller (Dharma and Greg’s Thomas Gibson in a role wasting his comic talents) being foisting on her. Wilma flees the family mansion and bunks with Betty O’Shale (Krakowski), a Bronco King waitress unaware of her roommate’s upper-crust underpinnings. The future Flintstones and Rubbles meet, love blossoms, petty jealousies follow, and then there’s that dastardly (well, not really) plot by Chip to rob and/or wed Wilma (ain’t that the American way!) to pay off Rock Vegas mobsters.

Poor Alan Cumming garners double duty as a green, foot-tall alien (The Great Gazoo, sent to Earth, à la What Planet Are You From?, to observe human mating rituals) and a glorified, thick-lipped rock star (Mick Jagged). What he really needs is another class reunion with Romy and Michelle

Dumbed-down movies (generally featuring Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey) can work. But in the hands of those that packaged this dim-witted effort, there’s nothing funny in Bedrock. Pray The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas tanks, dare we find ourselves six years from now mired in another messterpiece, The Flintstones Meet the Fossilized Baby Geniuses. For those of you who wasted good money today for a boringly bad time, you’ll have no one else to blame. Caveat emptor.

Contents | Features | Reviews | Books | Archives | Store
Copyright © 2000 by Nitrate Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  Copyright © 1996-2005 by Nitrate Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.