Classics of the Corn: The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)

I don’t think there are many people who can hear the name Brady without the familiar tune of “Here’s the story, of a lovely lady…” automatically playing in their heads.

Capitalizing on the lasting corny legacy of The Brady Bunch, some genius decided to make a film remake of the classic television series in 1995.

(Image via The Popcorn Files)
(Image via The Popcorn Files)

The film follows Mike and Carol Brady as they struggle to come up with some big money ($20,000 to be exact) in order to pay off their back taxes and save their house from being put up for auction. The Brady kids find out about the tax bill and are also scheming to save their beloved home, which Mike designed himself.

Not everyone wants the Bradys to stay put, though. Larry Dittmeyer, a hateful neighbor to the Bradys, would do anything in the world if it would mean he could get them out of the neighborhood.

One huge reason that I enjoy The Brady Bunch Movie and all of its cheese-wheeliness is that the Bradys appear as time travelers of a sort. They’re a very stereotypical ’70s family living in a totally stereotypical ’90s world. They’re completely out of place in the ’90s and are hilariously clueless.

At one point, two of the kids almost fall victim to carjacking… but not understanding the concept of a “carjack,” they respond with “Well, this is a car but my name isn’t Jack!” Few cornier jokes have ever been spewed in the history of film, and I love it.

The dialogue throughout the film is so purposefully contrived that it’s brilliant for its corn factor. Some of that cheesy dialogue is dedicated to what I’ve dubbed Extremely Obvious Life Lessons with Mike and Carol, in which the Brady parents spell out exactly what they want the kids to take away from their advice.

The dialogue isn’t the only thing that brings the corn. The film’s cast does a great job of exaggerating the mannerisms that were trademarks of the original Bradys. The stompy walking done by the daughters in order to make their hair swing from side to side is particularly funny. (I wish I could find a .gif of it, but apparently I’m the only person who enjoys this slice of cheddar, and I don’t have .gif-making capabilities.)

A couple of odd guest stars add to the fun as well. RuPaul appears as the school guidance counselor, wisely advising Jan with the line of trademark “Girl, you better work!” Davy Jones also appears, bringing the school dance to life with a rockin’ verson of the song “Girl,” which is actually pretty great.

None of those corny elements of the film are the greatest part of it, though. The #1 reason I decided to add this film to the Classics of the Corn hall of fame/shame is Jennifer Elise Cox’s performance as Jan Brady. I mentioned already that the cast exaggerates the sillier mannerisms that were seen in the original series. Well, Cox takes that concept of exaggeration to a whole new level. I’ve actually taken to referring to her character as “Crazy Jan” rather than “Jan Brady” because she is certifiably insane.

Part of Crazy Jan’s brilliance comes from the way the character is written — the inner dialogue she’s given between the voices in her head, her wacky dreams about taking over the world by cutting Marcia’s hair — but Cox pulls off all of that nuttiness perfectly. She is without a doubt the best part of the movie. Case and point:

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The Brady Bunch Movie isn’t a perfect slice of corn. Some of the subplots (like the cheap jokes about a female friend who is in love with Marcia) simply aren’t funny. But for the most part it’s an incredibly cheesy take on a family that was quite corny to begin with. To use the food analogies I always like to include in these CotC posts, The Brady Bunch Movie took something that was already an entire field of corn and updated it, flooding it with queso dip in the process.

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14 thoughts on “Classics of the Corn: The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)

  1. I watched this for the first time a few years ago, and like you, thought it was genius to drop this ’70s family into the ’90s. In my review, I called it ‘morbidly entertaining’, and I liked how the sets were perfect re-creations of the originals, and got a kick out of the multitudes of references to the original series…but in the end, the corn overwhelmed everything else. And though you were most intrigued by Jan, I was most fascinated by Gary Cole’s dead-on portrayal of Robert Reed, who played father Mike Brady.

    Now you need to find a copy of ‘The Brady Bunch Variety Hour’, watch it, write a review, and induce vomiting.

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      1. Oh dear lord, you BOUGHT this one! Well, I’ll admit, I could watch it again for Marcia alone, so I shouldn’t be so shocked. And though I’ve never seen any of the sequels, I love how the plot of the first sequel makes a big (and funny) reference to the TV series.

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        1. I couldn’t resist, it was only $5 and I had a gift card to spend! Their DVD selection is fairly low on classics so I just bought a couple of cheap-o cornballers from the bargain section.

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          1. And are you going to tell me which cheap-o cornballers you bought? I’m at home working on the new site, and realized my three reviews of the first Paranormal Activity films are a little thin, so I might buy that 3-pak at Target tomorrow for $9.99 and re-review them.

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            1. I think they were Adventures in Babysitting and The Addams Family movie, but I’m not 100% sure. I shop at the same handful of places for DVDs all of the time, so I can never keep straight what I bought when haha. (And apparently I forgot to include this film in any of my DVD collection updates, so my blog is no help in this case.)

              Confession time: I’ve never seen a single one of the Paranormal Activity films.

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              1. I own ‘Adventures in Babysitting’, too, strictly for Elisabeth Shue, who I’ve been crazy about since seeing it three times back in 1987 (the film itself, however, is a little, um, corny). And I really liked the first three PA films; for me, they were good, scary fun!

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  2. Hooray for The Brady Bunch! I did see this movie, quite some time ago, and I’d forgotten how the plot went. However, I did not forget Jennifer Elise Cox’s performance as Jan. I agree — she is the best part of the movie.

    So glad this movie is now part of the Classics of the Corn family. :)

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    1. I’m tempted to check out the sequel just to see if Cox’s performance is just as crazy there, haha. Maybe we’ll be seeing the Bradys twice in the CotC Hall of Shame!

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  3. I really got a kick out of seeing this back in 1995 and really want to see it again. I’m glad you mentioned Jennifer Elise Cock as Jan because I feel like a lot of people think of Christine Taylor(aka Mrs Ben Stiller) as Marcia. Having a 70’s family infused with 90’s culture was perfect for that time, but it would not work today. Need to rewatch this soon. Great post

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    1. I do like Christine Taylor as Marcia. She gives a clearly satirical performance even though her character isn’t written as kookily as most of the others. Cox completely steals the film though, I’m not sure how anyone could ignore her! Glad you enjoyed my post. :)

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  4. Oldie, but a goodie. It’s still funny all of these years, and has yet to be dated in ways that I was surprised to see. That scene with Davey Jones, priceless! Good review Lindsey.

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