Meet the Flinstones. Fred’s brooding and sullen, Wilma’s caught up in class strife, Barney’s known to simulate anal sex, and Betty’s a rockstar groupie. It’s everything the kids ever wanted and more as the Flinstones go from Bedrock to Vegas and apparently get corrupted in the process. One can only expect that neither adults nor children will know what to make of this latest film in the “Flinstones” saga, with a plot for adults and visuals for children that ends up being for not much of anybody in the end.
“Viva Rock Vegas” takes place in that meaningful epoch before Fred and Wilma got married when their poignant love was just budding. To kickstart the plot in the most oxymoronic way possible, the movie opens with the introduction of The Great Gazoo (Alan C*****g) as a tiny green and floating Martian sent to observe the mating habits of barely out of cromagnonism earthlings, and the courting Flinstones are his chosen target. No explanation is given as to why this “Flinstones” takes place in a time predating that of the first “Flinstones” film; one may surmise the resounding irritation of Rosie O’Donnell as Wilma made “going there”–as we say in the ghetto–again a cinematic impossibility.
Hence, Fred (Mark Addy) and Barney (Stephen Baldwin) are bachelors toiling away at the local gravel pit, Betty (Jane Krakowski) is a burger peddling waitress, and Wilma (Kristen Johnston) is a rich girl who lives in a mansion up on the hill and just wants to party with the little poor people down below. Joan Collins and Harvey Korman do put in hilarious guest performances as Wilma’s parents, dead-set on getting Wilma to marry the connivingly wealthy Chip Rockefeller (Thomas Gibson) who practically owns Rock Vegas. Hence, hijinks ensue as Fred pursues Wilma, Barney goes after Betty, Chip goes after them all, and everyone goes to Vegas. Guess who gets married in the end?
What’s most odd about “Viva Rock Vegas” is its strange offering of a sexy plot–how men and women get it on–to what is surely intended to be a primarily young audience. For the record, kids don’t like movies about men and women falling in love, they like films about individuals who prove their merit through the perils and pratfalls of life. To compound the problem, multiple major characters–Johnston, Baldwin, and Addy among them–seem to have no gift in director Barry Levitan’s (“The Flinstones”–what were they thinking?) hands for comedic timing, repeatedly playing too dark or too light with the exception of Krakowski. The all too brief double appearance of Cummings as rocker Mick Jagged is hilarious, but not exactly enough to carry a movie en total. The last saving hope “Viva Rock Vegas” has is in its visuals, but here too the movie falls short. A bumpy synthesis of special and visual effects done far too over the top ultimately means “Viva Rock Vegas” is nothing more than eye candy, and not a very tasty piece at that.