Yahoo Serious shouldn’t be blamed because the hype that preceded Young Einstein — his debut as a writer-star-director — cast him as the Second Coming of Paul Hogan. Yahoo Serious should be blamed for making Young Einstein in the first place. There is simply nothing amusing about the rise of his alter ego, Young Albert Einstein, a Tasmanian farmer-turned-Sydney physicist in 1905.
When Einstein ”splits the beer atom,” producing the world’s first frothy brew, the scene is flat. His epic trek across Australia features some neato scenery, but it’s as dramatically dead as the dullest MTV video. When he tops his E=mc2 coup by devising rock & roll, his annoying voice betrays a fatal lack of comic rhythm.
Yahoo’s galumphing clumsiness often spoils his stabs at slapstick. His idea of a snappy comeback: To the comment, ”Science, eh? I’m keenly interested,” Einstein replies, ”Pleased to meet you, Keenly.” Done right (as in Airplane!), such shameless dumbness can be fun. Yahoo has the dumb and shameless part down, but he seems to have been born, tragically, without a funny bone. This Einstein’s most notable invention is the telegraphed punch line.
Why Australia busted a gut over Young Einstein is a mystery; evidently there’s nothing funnier Down Under than a frizz-wigged white guy made up like a bushman playing a violin in a tin tub. ”Crocodile” Dundee was a gas; Young Einstein, plotlessly adrift, is merely gaseous. D