STUDIO: Paramount
MSRP: $29.98
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
• Caveman In Love music video
• Caveman In Love (uncensored) music video
• Old Fool Rap
• Penthouse Photo Shoot
• Maxim Photo Shoot
• Deleted scenes
• Viral ads
• Bloopers
• Commentary track w/ Adam Rifkin
• Bloopers
• Featurette of Gay-vemen
• Comic book
• Q+A w/ Adam Rifkin

The Pitch

“It’s Clan of the Cave Bear meets Ziggy!”

The Humans

Alan Rifkin, Ali Larter, David Carradine, Bill Tyree, Gary Busey, Ron Jeremy. Glimpses of (all of) Faye Valentine, Sasha Grey, others.

The Nutshell

Ishbo (Rifkin) is a caveman ahead of his time. While the rest of his tribe sits about collecting turds, clubbing women, and smoking weeds, Ishbo turns inward to ask himself the big questions: Why are we here? Where are we going? Why can’t I get laid?

All these questions (and more!) are answered by way of Ishbo getting the snot repeatedly beaten out of him by various friends, family, enemies, animals, and porn stars.

How could you not look pensive?

The Lowdown

I’ve got to admit that I’m not very good at reviewing comedies. I haven’t figured out a good approach, yet. I’m on much firmer ground with drama, where I can, at least, pretend to know how properly to use words like “juxtaposition” and “deconstruction” and “drama.” Comedy makes me nervous with it’s intentional fuckery of expectations and traditions. I always harbor the vague suspicion that I’m missing the point.

I’m a real gas at parties, too.

Here’s what National Lampoon’s Stoned Age delivers: Not as many drug references as the name implies, since the name is new for the DVD release; quite a few tits, in pairs; nothing approaching a gag-a-minute pace; and a protagonist with a grating persecution complex. Only the last one actually bothers me. Rifkin just can’t keep a good hold of the audience’s sympathy. He tries, sometimes, especially during an initial unrequited love subplot, but for each step toward the viewer’s embrace he lets loose two giant farts, and no one wants to hug the flatulent. Instead of ending up the put-upon, misunderstood hero of the story, Ishbo is the first element in a largely derivative selection to wear out its welcome.

Goddamn furries.

That leaves the movie with no lynchpin. If Stoned Age were more of a screwball comedy, I wouldn’t mind, but Rifkin wrote a story full of tired jokes, rehashed scenarios, and long stretches of nothing in particular. Exactly the sort of structure that might lend itself to character-based comedy. Too bad that’s pretty much absent, too.

So far, we’ve got a character free of interest hauling around on his a story with only glimpses of memorable humor. What’s the good stuff? In short: David Carradine, Bill Tyree, and Gary Busey.

In long: David Carradine, as Ishbo’s father and the leader of the tribe, seemed to be having way more fun than I was. Yet another reason for me to be jealous of David Carradine. He’s an infectious presence, whether playing serious or silly, both of which he does in Stoned Age. Bill Tyree — as the tribe’s ancient, deranged elder — gets a one-gag role, but he’s a much-needed injection of humor, even in repetition. Especially because he’s a potty mouth. (And his tribute pre-credits was one of the only laugh-out-loud moments in the flick.)

And Gary Busey? Well…

Honestly, I’m having a tough time coming up with anything else to say. (Can you blame me, after that picture? I’m mesmerized.) Stoned Age is a forgettable movie. I blame Adam Rifkin. For a character-based comedy, the relationships are dull and lopsided; for a situational comedy, the situations are indistinct; for dumb humor, there aren’t enough jokes. For a “fuck y’all, I’m doing my own thing” comedy, I guess it’s a success, but I’m not too interested in following along.

The Package

Some points get earned back, here. The two versions of the “Caveman in Love” video are sexy, one clothed the other un-, and the song itself is a minor hoot. Even more fun is the Old Fool Rap, which is a montage of Bill Tyree wandering around and being a pimp in full makeup and his birthday-suit costume.

There are two quick segments showing hidden camera footage of audiences watching Stoned Age (or Homo Erectus, as it was originally titled). One clip is of a mostly-empty theater, gently dozing. The other features a packed theater, and a murderer, photographer, a chef, and wrestling.

I am so symbolically confused.

There’s a bit of a funny faux-documentary on homosexual cavemen, termed “Gay-vemen.” There’s a replacement sequence for the display of the film’s title from back when it was called Homo Erectus.

The deleted “scenes” is only one scene, and it’s barely a couple of minutes long. It was a good cut, taking out a scene of cave-woman fertility practices, which would have pretty much rendered a later, tit-baring sequence pointless, if you can imagine that.

Bloopers is as bloopers is. These ones feature a lot more Bill Tyree than most others do, though. Also, an easter egg with a terrific cameo by, you guessed it, Bill Tyree.
There’s a comic book, which hardly features Bill Tyree at all, and is all the poorer for it.

Adam Rifkin gets to get his unfiltered words in edgewise through a filmed Q+A (prior to a screening of the movie) and his commentary. He’s an engaging fellow all the way across the board, although sometimes at a loss for what to say during the commentary. Nothing he says is liable to change your mind about his movie, but he does make it sound as if I would have had more fun working on the production than watching the result.

Finally, in order to take advantage of the many beautiful women from porn valley, some photo sessions for Penthouse and Maxim were filmed. Uncensored. Raw. Bouncy.

In other words, there’s more naughtiness and a higher density of funny in these bonuses than in the movie itself. Right on.

5 out of 10