Growing up, Judge Patrick Naugle's imaginary friend was Cousin Oliver.
So, you say that you watched The Brady Bunch when you were a kid and always heard about those pesky rumors. You know the ones I'm talking about…did Greg Brady really date his mom? Was Mr. Brady a homosexual? Did Marsha and Greg ever "get it on?" If you've been wondering what the answer is to these life long riddles, now is your chance to find out in Growing Up Brady, based on the best selling book by Barry "Greg Brady" Williams and Chris Kreski. Growing Up Brady, a made-for-TV movie, gives viewers a firsthand look at what it was like being on the set of one of the 1970s most beloved television shows. From tumultuous fights between series creator Sherwood Schwartz (played in flashbacks by Michael Tucker, L.A. Law) and actor Robert Reed (Daniel Hugh Kelly, Star Trek: Insurrection) to an off-screen romance between on-screen siblings, fans of the show will finally find out what it was like Growing Up Brady.
Growing Up Brady is an entertaining little made-for-TV movie, and that's the best you can say about it. Is there a lot going on inside the film? Not really. Fans of the series will be happy to see their favorite characters/actors (played by actors who are somewhat convincing some of the time) milling around on the Brady Bunch set, bumping into minor crisis after minor crisis. Mostly the film revolves around Williams's infatuation with two of his co-stars, TV mom Florence Henderson (Rebeccah Bush) and Maureen McCormick (Kaley Cuoco, 8 Simple Rules), and Robert Reed arguing about the quality of the scripts while battling his homosexuality (an on-screen kiss with his on-screen wife doesn't go over well with him).
There are no scintillating revelations about the Brady clan, though it was sad to find out the original dog that played Tiger died between seasons and had to be replaced by another less talented pooch. As for the acting, everyone performs their jobs to the best of their ability, which basically consists of imitating the actors they're portraying (Kelly has Robert Reed's facial expressions down to a science). As a bonus, series originals Barry Williams, Mike Lookinland, and Sherwood Schwartz make brief appearances. If you're a fan of the show, Growing Up Brady isn't the worst way you can spend an hour and a half of your life. And hey, at least it's better than A Very Brady Christmas.
Growing Up Brady is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, the film's original aspect ratio. This transfer looks exactly as I expected. Since the film was made for TV in 2000, overall the picture is in good shape, but not great. A few of the scenes look slightly soft, though colors and flesh tones are represented accurately. Black levels are all solid and dark without any graying in the image. This decent transfer works well for the film it's supporting.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby 2.0 Stereo in English. There isn't much to write about on this sound mix—the dialogue, music, and effects are all well heard without distortion or hiss. Directional effects are floating at the bare minimum. Then again, did you really need to hear Tiger's bark in Dolby 5.1 Surround? No alternate subtitles or soundtracks are available on this disc.
Not surprisingly, Paramount has decided not to include any extra features on this disc.
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