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Always Smiling, Bradys Welcome a Stranger and Invite Abuse

In "A Very Brady Sequel," life for those silly Bradys gets complicated when a slick guy shows up claiming to be Carol's long-lost husband, the natural father of Marsha, Jan and Cindy. Rated PG-13.


Clueless is as clueless does. And apparently no family in the history of modern civilization is as out of it as the Brady Bunch.

That's the message the producers of "A Very Brady Sequel" are putting out in this light comedy based on the old TV series, and that's the message kids are happily picking up.

"They're idiots, all of 'em," said Cory Richards, 16. "I laughed [because] nobody could be that stupid."

The Costa Mesa boy snickered at Jan's unending travails, Marsha's self-absorption, papa Mike's sappiness and mama Carol's flipped-out hairdo. He also grinned at the family's '70s duds; Cory pointed out that many kids are wearing the same junk these days, a fad he couldn't quite explain.

"I guess they think polyester is OK," he said. "I wear more surf stuff [baggy T-shirts and shorts] because they're cooler."

Fashion sense aside, the Bradys bring the most blatant naivete to the anxiety-thick '90s. Anyone expecting the movie to take a reality check every now and then is going to be disappointed.

Sheila Smith, 17, of Orange said she couldn't get into "A Very Brady Sequel" simply because it was so relentlessly dumb. She likes her comedy with a little more substance. Why, Sheila asked, couldn't the movie touch on problems such as the environment or poverty along its goofy way?

"I know it wasn't supposed to be much, but [the producers] could have made it more interesting" with references to a few social issues, she said. "The way it was, it was just the same joke over and over again."

That didn't bother 13-year-old Shawn Paltrow of Anaheim. He said he didn't laugh at all the gags but nonetheless found the Bradys to be the perfect family to have next door. Shawn said if they lived in his neighborhood, he'd abuse them mercilessly.

"You could [make fun] of them all the time, and they wouldn't even know it," he explained.

He had a few favorite scenes, including one where a dateless Jan shows up at a coffee shop and uses a mannequin as an imaginary boyfriend. While she smooches his rubber lips, his head topples to the floor.

Shawn also thought it was hilarious when Mr. Brady embarked on one of his convoluted, meaningless stories every time he wanted to make a moral point with his kids. Shawn said his own father has been known to do nearly the same thing.

The coffee shop scene also appealed to Roberta Martinez, a 20-year-old from Costa Mesa who liked how two grungy Generation Xers thought Jan's bit with the dummy was inspired performance art.

"When the one guy said they had to catch her next performance, I love that," Martinez said. "The movie was brainless but kind of hip at times too."

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