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  Caveman Back To The Stone Age
Year: 1981
Director: Carl Gottlieb
Stars: Ringo Starr, Dennis Quaid, Barbara Bach, Shelley Long, John Matuszak, Jack Gilford, Avery Schreiber, Mark King, Cork Hubbert, Evan C. Kim, Carl Lumbly
Genre: Comedy, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's a tough life being a caveman, and Atouk (Ringo Starr) knows that only too well. He's in love with Lana (Barbara Bach) who is the girlfriend of the leader of the tribe (John Matuszak), but his advances are always spurned. One night, when Atouk goes too far in trying to win her affections, he is kicked out of the tribe and left to fend for himself - this, however, could be a blessing in disguise...

The caveman genre should be an easy target for spoofing, what with all that gruff acting and sense of self-importance that runs through the prime examples. Director Carl Gottlieb and Rudy DeLuca scripted this attempt, and they cover all the clich├ęs, such as the discovery of fire, the made-up language for the actors to speak, the invention of tools, the violent modes of expression and the out of place dinosaurs (which are a highlight).

Unfortunately, even your average neanderthal had a more sophisticated sense of humour than this effort. The jokes are consistently idiotic, as if they've carried the primitive surroundings too far and into the screenplay. One little character is mistakenly believed to have been buried under shit in one scene, another gets his arse set aflame and farts fire, and what are we to make of the sequence where Atouk attempts to take advantage of a drugged Lana?

The cast are appealing enough, and the stop motion effects are nicely done, but nothing is all that funny. Atouk becomes leader of his own misfit tribe and has to fight for the hand of Lana, all the while rejecting Tala (Shelley Long) who really loves him. Fair enough, Caveman has a sweet-natured romance at the heart of it, and if you like seeing Barbara Bach in a cavegirl outfit (Ringo did, anyway), then it's passable. It's just that the film has a good idea with not enough imagination in its execution. Music by Lalo Schifrin (was the campfire singalong an inspiration for the Ewoks' celebration in Return of the Jedi, I wonder? No, probably not).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Carl Gottlieb  (1938 - )

American writer, actor and director who got his start with comedy troupe The Committee, then went on to write for television (The Smothers Brothers, Bob Newhart). He is best known for adapting Jaws, and co-writing two of the sequels, but he also directed Caveman, segments of Amazon Women on the Moon and various television shows. He acted in M*A*S*H, Cannonball and The Jerk (for which he provided the story).

 
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