An Evening At The Hard Rock Cafe

Slapstick comedy from the Stone Age.

The year is something BC and dinosaurs are used for just about everything - as bridges, roller coasters, remote controls, pets, vacuum cleaners...

One night, two Stone Age Neanderthals and best buddies Fred Flintstone (played by Mark Addey) and Barney Rubble (played by Stephen Baldwin), are out discussing their need for love when they have a chance encounter with "Gazoo" - the metallic-headed, green-faced alien who has been sent to Earth to study mating rituals among humans.

As the story proceeds, Fred and Barney meet up with Wilma, a rich heiress and Betty, a waitress - their "girls" and decide to celebrate their engagement to them in Rock Vegas, under the patronage of slimey fortune-hunter Chip Rockefeller (played by Thomas Gibson).

Before they know it, Fred is eye-deep in casino debts and is being accused of robbery, Wilma is being pressurized by her snobbish parent Pearl Slaghoople (played by Joan Collins) into accepting Chip's hand in marriage and Betty and Barney have found themselves other partners.

Ultimately, all the tangles of the plot sort themselves out and the movie ends with the characters breaking into song, dance and wide plastic smiles, but not before we've seen Fred and Barney masquerading as drag queens.

Brian Levant (director of The Flintstones, released 1994) has brought the setting of the Stone Age to life, with his direction. The cartoonish acting style characterized by pronounced, theatrical facial expressions along with the sets, furnished as they are with rock, stone and prehistoric animals, vivify the series created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. All the scenes are marked by an attention to detail - a monkey rights the fallen bowling pins, an octopus gives a massage, menus are chiseled on stone tablets and people aren't homeless but "caveless".

The story is smooth-flowing and the script, extremely witty; especially the lines of the alien Gazoo, played by Alan Cumming, who also doubles as Mick Jagged - a snotty, flirtatious pop singer, the role being a take off on Mick Jagger of Rolling Stones fame. The acting isn't extraordinary. The characters are styled along the lines of the original cartoon and they adhere to their types faithfully.

The brand of comedy in the flick is loud and slapstick. On the whole the movie isn't very taxing on the brain - light-hearted, flaky and funny, it provokes laughs and smiles. On the flipside, it's a tad predictable and childish; but just the thing that kids would enjoy.

This one's a family entertainer.

This article was first published on 30 Nov -0001.