I believe this movie was aiming to be the summer comedy of the year. With big names like Jack Black and now Michael Cera, it was sure to be funny. Many problems occurred with this film though. One, the script was not written with care. It was written to have as many fart and poop jokes as possible in ninety minutes. Two, the casting was a major problem. They had some great comedic actors playing very minor parts in this film, and because of this, they really missed out on a great opportunity to make the film funnier. Some didn’t even have a character name. Bill Hader played the mysterious shaman character in Jack Black’s camp that advised him to leave or he would be killed. His face was completely painted black and he was pretty funny with his three lines or so. Paul Rudd was just murdered in the film. I think he spoke once, as Abel and then his brother Cain, killed him.
Jack Black plays Zed, a caveman that can’t hack it as a hunter or a gatherer in his village and is banished when he eats the forbidden fruit. Michael Cera plays his best friend Oh, and only comes along because Zed accidentally burns down Oh’s hut. They begin a long journey across the world to discover many different cultures and environments along the way.
They come to a village and meet Abraham(Hank Azaria) about to kill his son, Isaac(Christoper Mintz-Plasse [McLovin in Superbad]). After Zed proclaims to be the chosen one from God, they are taken into town. There are a couple of laughs from Azaria about his Jewish people not being very good at sports and his new idea of circumcision. They escape being circumsized to go to the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah where members of their village are being held as slaves.
Oliver Platt makes a hilarious entrance as a High Priest making predictions out of animal entrails and looking very much like an ancient cross-dresser meets the Burger King. He was one of the funniest people in this film. There was funny and awkward moments with Platt putting the moves on Cera’s character, Oh.
A huge mistake by this film was showing EVERY SINGLE funny part in the commercials! There were absolutely no surprises in this for me. Watching the trailers basically gives you the movie premise, along with every decent laugh in the film. Jack Black spends way too much time, being Jack Black and doing any ridiculous thing for a laugh. While Michael Cera’s boyish charm wares off in the first twenty minutes. This was a ninety minute ad-lib fest for Jack Black and felt more like a “who’s buddies with Judd Apatow” cameo-fest, than a movie. Honestly, one of the things that was most interesting to me was the outfits that the two were forced to wear as they went from town to town.
I always appreciate a movie that makes fun of religion and history, but this one fails at that as well. If you want to watch a movie for poking fun at religion and history, watch History of the World Part One, Mel Brooks gets it right. If you want to watch a good Jack Black film this summer, don’t go to the movies, go rent High Fidelity or Be Kind Rewind. Harold Ramis really dropped the ball as the director on this one. If you want a good flick directed by Ramis, check out Groundhog Day, or even The Ice Harvest. Or we can just hang on and wait for Dr. Egon in Ghostbusters III to return!
The movie was below any rating that I can show you, so I give it an Epic Fail.
by Angela Davis