California Man Review

Image for California Man

While having a pool dug out in his backyard, Dave Morgan and his best mate, and fellow loser, Stoney Brown discover a frozen caveman. Thawing him out, they decide to introduce this Ice Age kid to life in modern day California and gain a touch of much needed credibility in the process.


This vacuous teen comedy was entitled Encino Man for its US release, after the specific Los Angeles suburb seemingly populated by a modern candour of Cro-Magnon man — The Wayne-Bill-Ted man. Hankering after a quick buck in the wake of those successes, Les Mayfield fails to equip the surface idiocy with the appropriate tickle of knowingness; the contrast between such innocent under-achieving and the burdens of knowledge. California Man, as it was understandably rechristened for foreign climes, is a tale of fools clamouring for cool rather than betterment. And more fool them for it.

The joke here, for what it’s worth, contends that this double act of Valley ignoramuses, refitted Bill and Ted’s without the floppy necked charm, are every bit as caveman as their new pet.

There was a glimmer of light on the horizon for Sean Astin, who doesn’t fully fit the dude-cake role; a decade hence he would leave for Middle-earth, Pauly Shore making his debut, shrivelled in the sun of immediate attention, his frittered dude-speak holding forth in playgrounds and malls for no more than a summer. His name, like his sprawling perm, is now utilised as a notation for abject loss of fashion. Anyway, his hyper-spaced jargon was completely incomprehensible: buff, grindage, chillin’, gnarling, flamage. The art, if you will, is to hasten the clips of regular speech, not to just burp out abstract words.

The lump they defrost from their pool excavations is Brendan Fraser, has the good grace to look stupid. And as the buds refit him for High School, tutoring him in their clouded philosophy, it becomes clear he is far more equipped for the dangers of this world than are the duo of dips. He eats like a starving wolf, does wheelies in a car and mimics, mimicking a routine damn near as crusty as him, rappers and movie heavies he sucks up for television. Thus he leads Pauly and Seany on the path to cool and to be themselves or somesuch prattling gesture toward morality. The path to funny, however, was in the opposite direction.

Highly-evolved it ain't, but this Stone Age slacker is a lot of fun.