Encino Man

When reviewing a comedy you’re not supposed to give away the best jokes, so I promise I’ll reveal only the lame ones in Encino Man, the new no-brainer about a couple of Southern California dweebs (Sean Astin and Pauly Shore) who discover a caveman preserved in ice and turn him into a friendly, if monosyllabic, high school hunk. Here’s what the caveman does: He walks into a glass door; he dances to rap music; he climbs a wall; he gets down on his knees and eats dog food; he rides a roller coaster and yells; he drinks a bowl of salsa and it’s hot; he eats a dead frog in science class; he steers a driver’s-ed car on two wheels; he squirts mustard into his mouth; he dances in a conga line. (There, I don’t think I’ve given away any good jokes.)

As Link, the sweetly out-of-it caveman, Brendan Fraser grunts engagingly and bats his eyes like a rock & roll heartthrob; he’s appealing without really being funny. I wish I could say that much for Pauly Shore, the reptilian imp from MTV. Reeling off Valley Dude slang in a slurry monotone, as if he could barely be bothered to make his lips form words, he’s a fey sleazebag in hippie duds — a cross between Jim Morrison and Richard Simmons. The most interesting thing about watching Pauly Shore is wondering how long it will be before he has to take a day job. D+

Encino Man
  • Movie
  • 88 minutes