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'Vegas': The Flintstones at Bedrock Bottom

By Stephen Hunter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 28, 2000


    'The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas' Fred, Wilma, Betty and Barney are back in "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas." (Universal and Amblin)

See "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas," that is. It's a Yabba-dabba-dud. In fact it's Yabba-dabba-doo-doo!

That is, unless (a) you really like jokes involving puns or parodies revolving around the word "rock" or some other form of mineral deposit or (b) the prospect of seeing Joan Collins camping it up as Wilma Flintstone's snooty society mother is too delicious to deny or, finally, (c) you are in love with Alan Cumming.

If (a) or (c) is your choice, I have nothing to offer you. Please exit the review now.

As for you of the (b) category, you poor shlubs, I will say that La Collins's face is worth a gander, strictly on the Youwon'tbelieveit! criterion: It has been stretched so tight by plastic surgery that you're afraid a pebble will bounce off it and be trampolined forward at such velocity that it penetrates the camera lens, editing suite and marketing meetings, and then explode off the screen to do havoc in the audience. Stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile, if you can tear your attention from the snare drum tension of her flesh, you may notice that this film is technically a prequel, explaining what we all always yearned to know: how Fred wooed Wilma.

Mark Addy, an amiable Yorkshireman who was the fat guy in "The Full Monty," plays the young Fred Flintstone. He meets Wilma (played cheerfully by "3rd Rock's" Kristen Johnston) at a drive-in, although he's initially attracted to live-wire Jane Krakowski's far more exuberant Betty. But on a double date, he realizes that it's Wilma for him, while his ever-dim pal Barney connects with Betty. Barney is played by a Baldwin boy--not the talented Baldwin boy or the pretty Baldwin boy or the fat Baldwin boy or the non-Baldwin boy Baldwin (that would be Adam) but the dumb Baldwin boy, Stephen. Fred soon learns that Wilma, far from the contented suburban housewife of the old TV cartoon, is actually the progeny of wealth and social connection, as represented by her mom (Collins) and senile dad (Harvey Korman)--and Mommy doesn't want her marrying a Bronto crane driver.

A little plot, not a lot, just a spot or a tot, ensues, organized around Mom's attempts to disconnect the romance. You'll hardly notice. The movie is really about its one endlessly repeated joke, which is the design of modern contrivances--automobiles, construction sites, restaurants, nightclubs, even cities--out of someone's idea of goofy, cheesy Stone Age materials.

The one weirdness is Cumming, in a double role. One is another "rock" pun, this time not geological but cultural: He appears as "Mick Jagged," a rock star and leader of the Rolling Stones. The other is truly bent: He plays--or rather, his face plays--some kind of space creature on a mission to prehistoric Earth to float at Fred's ear and whisper ironic asides. The face, painted the color of antique pewter, is somehow computer-morphed into a tiny body and a '50s football helmet. It's zany. Actually, it's so zany it's almost creepy.

THE FLINTSTONES IN VIVA ROCK VEGAS (PG, 91 minutes) – Contains sophomoric sexual innuendo and flatulent-dinosaur humor.

© Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company

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