Reviewed by: Bob MacLean
|Featuring:||Mark Addy, Jane Krakowski, Kristen Johnston, Alan Cumming, Stephen Baldwin|
“The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas” is generally appropriate for children of almost any age. However, the film may lose a lot of potential viewers who are teen or older. But for children and fans of the Flintstones, this lighthearted and delightful story may be worthwhile.
This film shows how two “prehistoric” couples from Bedrock meet. The few kissing scenes of affection between the couples are happily devoid of the overdone kissing scenes all too common in Hollywood movies today. Within the story is an overlaid plot of an alien who is supposed to observe Earthling mating rituals. What could have been offensive was handled appropriately, but while children found this portion funny my adult mind unfortunately did not. The only thing I could find as possibly unnecessary was the use of strapless dresses and some mild cleavage shown. This will be a personal issue of choice for each parent.
As some critics have said, the script is not inspiring. However, it is not meant to be. Rather, “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas” is meant to emulate the feeling of an animated cartoon, not redefine the characters as being graduates of Princestone U.
It was a pleasure to take my 12 year-old mentee and watch him laugh at a movie without any of the shortcuts Hollywood usually takes to grab attention. Nor were there dubious innuendoes or other obvious sexual situations. He laughed more through this movie than through other recent children’s movies such as “Tigger”, “Pokémon” or “My Dog Skip”. Since I love the sound of children laughing, “Viva” gets 5 stars on the “induces laughter” category.
Technically, the photography and sets are very good; there is rich use of color in costumes and props. The art direction is also successful. The directing is good and each character is consistent. The voices of Fred, Barney and Betty even carry a good deal of authenticity, especially Barney and Betty’s trademark laugh. Guard yourself from being too critical; this story is meant to be silly and slapstick-oriented.
Most importantly, the story contains several strong moral lessons which outweigh any perceived negative content: one message teaches honesty, and another trust in relationships (even when appearances may deceive). A third valuable lesson is that money doesn’t equal happiness. (Wilma teaches that a girl’s hero should not be one based on wealth, but someone of simple means). But be ready for a unique twist as to how this gets presented.
There is the good guy/bad guy element in “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas” where good always comes out ahead. Each lesson is understandable for children and presented on their level.