When they find a frozen caveman in their back yard, two high school outcasts thaw him and introduce him to modern life while he in turn gets them to actually enjoy life.When they find a frozen caveman in their back yard, two high school outcasts thaw him and introduce him to modern life while he in turn gets them to actually enjoy life.When they find a frozen caveman in their back yard, two high school outcasts thaw him and introduce him to modern life while he in turn gets them to actually enjoy life.
Future hobbit Sean Astin plays Dave Morgan, a high school senior. Dave is the most unpopular kid in school and is inevitably in love with the most popular, Robyn Sweeney (Megan Ward), who, once upon a time, was childhood playmate to Dave (Dave even has a baby picture of the two naked in a bathtub), but now, while still good hearted, has fallen in with the 'popular' crowd and is inevitably dating the biggest a**hole at school, Matt Wilson (Michael DeLuise), a bully who puts down Dave's shy advances toward Robyn with a headlock and a sardonic 'Shoosh!'
When he's not pining for Robyn, Dave hangs out with his one and only friend and fellow loser Stoney, played with his usual flamboyance by Pauly Shore. Stoney, while as unpopular as Dave, seems content with his status at the school. He dresses in ostracizing hippie-rags, sure to turn a few of the girls away at school, but is mellow, and speaks in the Pauleneese tongue created by himself and screenwriter Shawn Scheppes. Dave however, is far from happy, and is determined to score coolness immortality (not to mention the heart of Robyn) before graduation. As the movie begins, Dave is digging a giant dirt hole for an in-ground swimming pool, which will be the centerpiece for the legendary party he will throw on prom night, thus lifting him to the top of the social ladder. One hot California day, while digging, Dave hits something hard and cold with his shovel. Enter the Encino Man.
Brendan Frazier never ceases to amaze me, obviously a gifted actor (see 'Gods and Monsters'), he nevertheless chooses zany comedic roles, be it 'Blast From the Past,' 'Bedazzled,' or this, the all share a quirky, oddball role for Frazier to try, in this case with positive results.
Dave plans to exploit 'Link,' not for money, but for popularity. He tells Robyn his discovery, but, of course, she doesn't believe him. Soon Link is enrolled in school under the rouse that he is an exchange student from Estonia. He cannot read, write, or speak other than grunts and the occasional Pauleneese term (which themselves are not paragons of the English language). He swings on lamps and jumps on desks. He eats flies and will stare unashamedly at a pair of female 'gozangas' with the primal urges he cannot suppress like the rest of us. He is an animal--naturally, he becomes the most coolest kid in school.
I won't give away the rest of the plot, suffice to say: a) Yes, the bully will fall head first into a giant cake, and, b) Yes, there is an inexplicably choreographed dance number at the end.
For all its silliness, this is one great film. The actors go balls out into their characters, as if unafraid of any damage they could do to their careers. They seem to be having so much fun as the caveman/the normal guy/the bully/Pauly Shore, that we don't have the heart to not have fun with them.
Best of all, this film sidesteps exhausted plot points that could have easily sneaked banality into it. There is no team of scientists trying to capture and experiment on Link, and he is not conveniently disposed of for a return to normalcy. Instead, we are treated to a rather original mixing of absurdity humor, almost in the vein of Samuel Beckett or Robert Shaw, where not only could a caveman blend in with society, he can become cool.
There is a strong moral in the film of individuality and what really is 'cool.' Robyn takes a strong liking to Link because he's the only guy at school who's not inhibited. She takes this as a sign of self confidence, when it really is ignorance, Link simply hasn't developed the ego and superego the rest of us have--and we truly envy him for this, for his blissful unawareness of peer pressure. Although Dave tried to teach Link how to behave in society, it was Link, in the end, who taught Dave just that.
- Dec 5, 2004