2012 Film Challenge #2 - California Man/Encino Man

In the 1990s, Brendan Fraser starred in at least three “out of time and place” romps. We chortled as he swapped one jungle for another in George of the Jungle. When emerging from his anti-commie time capsule in Blast From the Past, he stole our hearts with little more than a collection of priceless baseball cards, 1950s chivalry and a deep appreciation of the finer points of Perry Como.

But before all that, he starred alongside a bumbling Sean Astin as a caveman who, after a millennia of frozen stasis, is defrosted - retaining all of his critical faculties ready for a none-more-nineties party in California.

It’s dated quite horribly and pretty much comes across as “1990s: The Movie”. However, when you consider the atmosphere of terror, paranoia and blandness which has so far prevailed throughout the 21st century, the lurid extremes of the 90s seem wholly innocent, adorable and – dare I say it – preferable.

The ending’s quite inexplicable and will leave anybody not attuned to nineties jargon utterly baffled. It’s fun, though. But where does it rate on the old “Brendan Frasier Anachronistic Nineties Comedy” scale?

Well, it’s not as good as George of the Jungle and not nearly as good as Blast From the Past – the undisputed king of this particular niche. A close yet distinct third, then. Good, but not great.


  1. I really liked this one. It's got Pauly Shore in it as well (best-known, possibly, as the voice of Bobby in A Goofy Movie), and that game they keep playing, Rad Mobile? First ever game to feature Sonic The Hedgehog, that is.

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