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Blast From The Past Review

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A thirtysomething innocent emerges from a nuclear bomb shelter to take on life in the hostile '90s.

★★★★★

Since her breakthrough in 1995 with Clueless, Alicia Silverstone has struggled to find a suitable vehicle for her undoubted charms. Blast From The Past, a good-natured romantic comedy that teams her with Brendan Fraser, isn't the answer even if it is a significant step up from 1997's Excess Baggage. More than anything, though, it's further proof that while young actors may rule Hollywood at the moment, they're still only as good as the scripts they get. Not that the film is unfunny, it's just that there aren't enough jokes to disguise the improbable set-up.

Silverstone plays Eve, a cynical LA girl tired of '90s men and their inconsiderate, selfish ways. Fraser is Adam, a 35-year-old who's spent his entire life living in a nuclear bomb shelter after his paranoid parents (played by Walken and Spacek) mistook a 1962 plane crash for the start of World War III. Cocooned in a cosy world of cheesy '50s sitcoms and endless Perry Como, Adam is understandably frustrated and so jumps at the chance to get out and re-supply the shelter.

Almost immediately he meets Eve, and from then on the comedy is meant to flow from the clash between her street-smart twentysomething and Adam's impeccably-mannered, old-school gent. The problem is that just isn't enough and despite appealing performances from both the leads, it's left to Walken and Spacek (virtually unrecognisable from her '70s classics Badlands and Carrie) to inject a much-needed dose of real humour into the goings-on. It was inspired casting on the part of director Hugh Wilson to enlist them to play Adam's apple-pie parents and as Walken potters around the shelter with a mad glint in his eye and Spacek's quietly hysterical housewife hits the cooking sherry, you get the feeling that the movie might have been better if everyone had stayed underground.

A quirky comedy that tugs at the heart and wrings some decent laughs out of its well-worn fish-out-of-water premise.

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