MOVIES: Caveman Kitsch

Jun. 19 2009, Published 6:42 a.m. ET

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Year One, starring Jack Black and his giant belly, is what we like to call stupid funny. So, not quite comic genius, but it does have a ton of LOL moments — it’s actually a lot like Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I.

Black and Michael Cera play Zed and Oh, a couple of lazy hunter-gatherers, who are exiled from their tribe after Zed eats forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Zed, who believes he is The Chosen One, then drags Oh, kicking and screaming, on an excellent adventure through ancient times.

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Along the way, the undynamic duo meet Cain and Abel (Paul Rudd and David Cross), Abraham (Hank Azaria) and Princess Ianna (the gorgeous Olivia Wilde), and end up in Sodom, the original Sin City.

What makes Year One, directed by Harold Ramis (Caddyshack, Animal House), so freakin’ hilarious is that it does that thing where most of the characters talk like it’s 2009, even though it’s set in the Stone Age.

And Black and Cera have great comedic chemistry. Black is the same as always, just fat and funny, while Cera does his innocent, doe-eyed deadpan delivery and is up for doing any and all gags to get a laugh.

The plot is pretty thin — the guys have to save their virginal love interests Maya (June Raphael) and Eema (Juno Temple) from slavery and being sacrificed. But hysterical bits, like the alleged origin of circumcision, make up for that. The best scene in the movie takes place at an orgy in Sodom, where Cera has been painted solid gold like a statue and must give a hairy gay high priest (Oliver Platt) an oily rubdown.

Year One is a mindless summer popcorn flick. You won’t really learn too much about history but you might snort and chortle a few times. And of course that’s a lot more fun.



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