‘Bad Grandmas’ | Movie Review - Republic-Times | News

‘Bad Grandmas’ | Movie Review

By on May 18, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Bad Grandmas

Here’s the story, of a lovely lady, who lots of people grew up watching. The late Florence Henderson can certainly be called one of the iconic mothers of our culture, having played matriarch Carol Brady from 1969-1974, known to most of us through decades of re-runs.  Henderson died in 2016 at the age of 82.

You may not recognize Mrs. Brady when you watch Henderson’s final movie, Srikant Chellappa’s recently released Bad Grandmas.  Henderson stars in the southern farce with a cast of older women, including Pam Grier of Foxy Brown and Jackie Brown fame. Another familiar face is that of Judge Reinhold, who plays the villain in the movie. Reinhold is most famous for Ruthless People and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.   

These folks had their moment in the spotlight for some time, so it was exciting to have them around our own town of Columbia during the summer of 2016. Many of the scenes in this movie were shot on familiar Columbia streets, and places such as Columbia Market, the Country Financial office of Shaun Hannah, and Columbia CarStar are featured prominently in interior scenes. It was fun to see some familiar Columbia residents even turn up as extras.

The movie tells the story of Mimi (Henderson), Coralee (Grier), and their septuagenarian friends who set out to change the ways of a crooked son-in-law, only to have him accidentally die. They go about covering up their crime, all the while being pursued by the authorities and the dead son-in-laws cohort (Reinhold).

Henderson and her friends fall into the overused elderly stereotype that seems to plague movies these days. We hear them spout expletives and smoke pot. The portions of the movie in which the actors have been asked to improvise are silly and unfunny. There are some moments that could have worked had the writing and directing been better. The movie simply falls flat overall. It is disappointing that this was Henderson’s last movie. In a career that spanned six decades, she deserved to go out in a better way.

Monroe County residents will enjoy seeing the vintage cars drive down familiar Columbia streets. It’s fun to see familiar places and people on the screen. I suspect the RedBox proceeds for this movie will see a pretty good haul from local citizens, but it’s only because folks want to see their neighborhood in a movie. The general public will rent the movie to see Henderson one last time, but they will mostly likely be very disappointed, and maybe even a little saddened.

 Even the novelty of having a movie shot in our hometown does not hide the fact Bad Grandmas is just bad.

I give the movie a very generous D. I’d give it a lower grade if it weren’t for the bright spots in the movie: the people and places in Columbia, Illinois. It’s not their fault the movie stinks.

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.