Anthony's Film Review

Encino Man (1992)

This high school comedy is not great, but not terrible either...

Encino Man is a high school comedy with a somewhat original premise. What do I mean by "somewhat original"? Well, it takes a concept that is seen in many stories, a fish out of water story, and gives it an interesting twist. Basically, the movie centers on two guys who have a third person, someone new to our world, join them, but this foreigner is not someone from another part of the world. Rather, it's someone from the same part of the world but from a different time. In other words, the movie is about two guys in Encino, California, who dig up a live caveman from the Stone Age.

Hard to believe, right? Well, sure, but I didn't actually find it strange, stupid, or absurd. I just went along with it. I also liked the two main characters of the movie: Sean Astin as Dave and Pauly Shore as Stoney. They seem likable enough, particularly the wacky-talking Stoney. They're just two ordinary high school buddies, although Dave wants to be popular so badly that he's willing to dig a swimming pool in his backyard. And, of course, that's how they dig up the caveman.

Now, because the caveman, played by Brendan Fraser, is encased in ice, he's not actually dead. Once it thaws, he wakes up in this scary new civilization. He attacks a garbage truck like it's a mammoth. And when Dave and Stoney encounter the caveman in Dave's house, they all take several moments to earn each other's trust. A lot of it involves sparking the caveman's interest, like when Dave produces a flame with a cigarette lighter. And of course, they give this filthy caveman a good bath.

So the caveman is given clothes and a new name: Link. In order for Link to blend in with society, Dave and Stoney take him to school, posing him as a foreign exchange student. The movie is a series of events involving Link causing trouble without knowing it, the three guys bonding as friends, and Dave's quest to be popular before the end of senior prom. Some interesting moments include Link biting off the head of a frog in a biology class, Link playing a driving video game, and Link getting lucky by having a prom date. (Of course, this doesn't mean Dave and Stoney are not interesting. They are, too.)

Encino Man is an average comedy. It's the kind that a lot of people might consider below average, and I can understand. For me, it didn't bore me or irritate me. It was seemingly bland but minimally enjoyable. When I look back on this movie, I also think about what the three main stars did since. Sean Astin would become better known in a major role in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Brendan Fraser would also move onto bigger projects. Pauly Shore may be a whole different story, but he's still cool in my book. However, I digress. Encino Man is simple fun and nothing more. That's the bottom line.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Encino Man, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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