The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000)

Stephen Baldwin and Mark Addy in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000)

When Fred Met Wilma

I reckon so many adults were disappointed by "The Flintstones" movie that their negativity rolled over to when they made "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" a sequel which is in fact a prequel. Couple that with different actors and the introduction of Gazoo, a character element I never liked in the cartoon and like even less in the movie, and a lot of people think this sequel sucks. But to be honest as entertainment for children it works, it has plenty of visual gags and the casting of Jane Krakowski as Betty is brilliant, it just doesn't work if you are an adult who grew up on the cartoon.

Having past their exams so that they can work at the rock quarry Fred (Mark Addy) and Barney (Stephen Baldwin) set out to meet some women. And they certainly achieve that when they meet Wilma (Kristen Johnston) and Betty (Jane Krakowski) who waitress at a burger bar, inviting them out on a double date. But Fred has a rival for Wilma's affection, Chip (Thomas Gibson) Rockefeller the playboy owner of a Rock Vegas casino who plans to whisk her away from Fred.

Jane Krakowski as Betty O'Shale in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000)

Now I actually like that they decided to give us a prequel rather than a sequel because it stops it from being an exact rehash of the first movie. Okay so the evil Chip Rockefeller is a very similar character to Cliff Vandercave but by taking us back to how Fred and Barney met Wilma and Betty it works. It may be a bit cliche as we have a series of date montages as Fred and Wilma and Barney and Betty double date but it also allows us to see how things came about. By that we see that Dino was a prize on a fairground game and Wilma's pearls were a gift from her father. I don't know if these were ever explained in the original cartoon but these little touches make it fun.

To be honest it is all these little touches which make "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" entertaining because the whole story of Fred getting hooked on gambling, Betty ending up with rocker Mick Jagged and Chip being evil is not really that entertaining. But then in reality whilst giving us the genesis of the characters it is little more than a vehicle for lots of visual gags. Actually it also allows for Joan Collins to play a younger version of Pearl Slaghoople a role which in the previous movie was filled by Elizabeth Taylor.

As to those visual gags well we get the imaginative when it comes to Bedrock be it a dinosaur as a bridge across a canyon or Betty working as a roller-skating waitress at a burger bar. But the visual gags come in to their own when we get to Rock Vegas with a rock version of the waving cowboy and a remote control which features a little bird. It is the creativity of converting modern things into a caveman world which makes it still plenty of fun for children who should smile at the ingenuity such as three dinosaurs making up a rollercoaster ride.

But "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" does have a problem and that is the casting because whilst Mark Addy isn't bad as Fred he is not John Goodman and so he ends up feeling inferior. And inferior is exactly how Stephen Baldwin comes across compared to Rick Moranis as Barney and Kristen Johnston does little better as Wilma. But then there is Jane Krakowski as Betty and she is simply brilliant bringing the cuteness of Betty to life which was missing the first time around. And as already mentioned Joan Collins takes on the role of Pearl Slaghoople and whilst she may just be giving us a cliche rich bitch character she does it so well.

What this all boils down to is that "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" works pretty much in the same way as the first movie which means it is visual fun for children. But then for anyone else it is a bit of a let down with only the casting of Jane Krakowski as Betty really being a plus point.