By Richard Winters
My Rating: 1 out of 10
4-Word Review: Caveman starts new tribe.
Caveman Atouk (Ringo Starr) is in-love with Lana (Barbara Bach) who unfortunately is infatuated with Tonda (John Matuszak). Tonda is the big muscular leader of their tribe and when he catches Atouk trying to make a pass at his girl he throws him out. Atouk is then forced to fend for himself. Fortunately he meets up with Lar (Dennis Quaid) and Tala (Shelley Long). Soon more cavepeople join his band of misfits only to have Tonda and his people track them down and challenge them to a fight.
This is yet another film where I’m at a complete loss for what type of intended audience the producers were looking for. There is no nudity, no sexual innuendos, and not enough raunchiness to attract the raucous college crowd. The humor is also too subtle and spread too thin, so it wouldn’t attract the kiddie crowd who prefer slapstick and a faster pace. In the end one is left with what amounts to being one really, really dumb movie that is virtually plotless and stretches out its threadbare concept until it becomes incredibly boring to sit through.
Starr may have been the member of one of the most influential and greatest rock bands of all-time, but as an actor he sucks. Granted the unimaginative script gives him little to go on, but a more creative actor could’ve added some interesting nuances that would’ve made the part more memorable and the movie more enjoyable. Even veteran actors like Jack Gilford, who are almost always funny, come off as flat and transparent here. The only performances that I liked were that of a young Dennis Quaid and Shelley Long, who looks surprisingly cute in her cave-girl getup.
The special effects involving the dinosaurs that were created by Jim Danforth are the film’s one and only saving grace even though it’s painfully clear that the beasts on shown on a separate screen from the one that the actors are in and thus making the moments where they are being ‘chased’ by the animals look quite cheesy. Also, the scene where a giant fly lands on top of Quaid’s face is genuinely funny, but unfortunately amounts to being the only laugh-out-loud moment in the movie.
How this pathetic excuse for a script ever got the green light is hard to fathom especially when so many other good ones get rejected year-after-year and yet it proves once again that Neanderthals are still alive and well even in this day and age and the majority of them work as heads of major Hollywood film studios.
My Rating: 1 out of 10
Released: April 17, 1981
Runtime: 1Hour 31Minutes
Director: Carl Gottlieb
Studio: United Artists