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Cavegirl
(1985)

Director: David Oliver
Cast:
Daniel Roebuck, Cynthia Thompson, Darren Young


When I was younger, I used to constantly dream of leaving the small town I was growing up in, and move to a more exotic locale. Slowly, I managed to escape from my bonds and I went to places like Europe, Africa, and Asia. Though I am glad I did all of that traveling when I was much younger, today I think much differently. I now live in a city that is decent-sized, not having the boredom of a small town but also not having the complex problems of a major metropolis. And I am content with that for the most part. But occasionally I get the urge to travel once again. Not to places that exist right now, but places that existed in another time. Yes, I am talking about time traveling. There are certain points of time I would love to visit should they ever invent and perfect a working time machine. I'm not talking about the future, however - while there may be some neat new inventions in the future, I kind of fear landing in a post-apocalypse world. Better to play it safe and visit some established times and cultures from the past. What times and cultures would I like to visit? Well, there are several. I would like to visit New York in the 1970s, because I would love to visit all those grindhouse movie theaters that would show double or triple features of various exploitation movies, many of which are hard to track down and watch in this present day. Another time that you may have guessed that I would like to visit is the American west during the age of the cowboy. Getting to ride horses, shoot off guns, and explore the exotic desert may not be everybody's cup of tea, but would certainly make me very content.

There are times when my dreams of time traveling go beyond the idea of soaking up the local culture of the time. Sometimes in my mind I go further, and think of making a difference due to my knowledge of what would follow. For example, sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if I were to travel back in time to the year 1914 and I stopped Gavrilo Princip from assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand - the trigger that started World War One, and which lead to other horrible things in later years like the Second World War and the rise of communism in Russia. That's something to chew on, but sometimes my mind imagines what I could accomplish if I were to travel back further into time. What if I were to travel to the beginning of mankind, when men and women dressed in animal skins and lived in caves? When I first started to think about this, it seemed like I could accomplish a lot. I could introduce the wheel, show how to generate fire, and teach about sanitation, among other things. It seems at first glance that I would be treated as some sort of a god. But as time went on, and I thought about it some more, the prospect of visiting the caveman age lost a lot of appeal. What if, when meeting cavemen for the first time, they thought from my much different appearance from them that I was some sort of demon? What if I caught one of the many diseases that were around at the time despite my knowledge of good health? And even if I were successful and make myself appear to these primitive people that I was some sort of god, the women would throw themselves at me. That might not sound bad, but think about it - women back then must have been pretty ugly thanks to disease and lack of cosmetics.

Though it probably isn't realistic for me to dream about traveling back in time when real life science hasn't even managed to determine for sure whether time travel could be possible, at least I can more realistically dream about someone making a movie about someone from modern times Cavegirltraveling back in time to when the human species was in a primitive state. I would like such a movie done with at least passable production values, and with a pretty serious tone. However, when I came across Cavegirl, I knew I wouldn't be getting either requirement. It was made by the low budget B studio Crown International, and it promised to be a wacky comedy. Despite my disappointment with this, I tried to lift my spirits with a pep talk. Maybe the movie would be funny enough to erase my disappointment. Or that the R rating would result in some serious sexy moments. After all, humor and/or sexiness have saved many movies in the past for me. The movie starts off in the present day in California, where we meet Rex (Roebuck, River's Edge), a high school student suffering from two problems. Not only is he a nerd - which by itself gets him a lot of grief from his prank-playing fellow students - but he is desperately horny, and his hopelessness when it comes to the opposite sex means that none of his female classmates seem willing to fix that problem. One day, Rex and his fellow students go out to the country on a field trip to see some cave paintings made by cavemen. Wouldn't they actually have been made by Native Americans? Anyway, while in the cave, Rex gets lost, and soon finds himself lost in a cave passage with a giant crystal. Rex touches the crystal, and ZAP, he finds himself transported thousands of years back in time to when Native Amer- oops, I mean cavemen - roamed the area. Eventually Rex freaks out when he realizes he's not in his own time and that the local cavemen population is hostile. That is, until he stumbles across Eba (Thompson, Hollywood Harry), a beautiful cavegirl who feels pity for this odd-looking stranger and is fascinated by the various modern conveniences he brought with him. Rex subsequently not only gets it in his mind to not only demonstrate what he's got to Eba, and not only teach her modern things like English, but succeed with his main ambition - TO HAVE SEX WITH HER!

Cavegirl is one of those movies that in its first few seconds manages to instantly destroy any shred of hope there may be in viewers. In this case, it does it with the musical score that plays over the opening credits - it starts off with (you guessed it) one key of a synthesizer keyboard being rapidly hit over and over for several seconds. In other words, this is an '80s movie all the way. The movie isn't just an '80s enterprise; as I indicated in the previous paragraph, it also happens to be a low budget movie. Actually, the opening of the movie, showing a helicopter flying at various angles above a desert, looks pretty professional, enough that I was almost convinced that maybe the filmmakers could pull the rest of the movie off. But then after the opening of the movie ends, the movie instantly plunges into cheapness, as if they blew most of the budget filming that helicopter. The scenes set at Rex's high school have a very sterile feeling, with as few background extras and set dressings as possible. The cheap nature manages to stay even when the action changes to the countryside, both in modern times and when the action changes to thousands of years in the past. That's because the filming was done in the southern California desert. As you no doubt know from other movies, the landscape of this part of the United States looks very dry and with limited plant life. It not only doesn't look very spectacular, it gives the audience the impression that the filmmakers only drove an hour out of Hollywood to film the movie. What the movie really needed was to be filmed in northern California, with all its tall green trees and spectacular mountain backdrops. This would have added a great deal in the way of production values (and for free!), and it also would have been closer to the environment that real cavemen in Europe lived in thousands of years ago.

I do realize that maybe I am nitpicking the backdrop of Cavegirl a little more than I should. While decent production values are nice, a movie more often than not is sold with its characters, direction, and story. I've certainly forgiven my share of movies for looking cheap. Unfortunately, in the case of this movie, I'm hard pressed to find anything of merit. Take the characters, for instance. There's not one character in the movie that I could identify with or sympathize with. Certainly, no one in the audience would find anything to like with Rex's classmates - they are a pretty cruel bunch who endlessly insult and harass him. You might think that this nasty treatment might make it easier for us to sympathize with Rex, but it doesn't. This is one cinematic nerdy character who seems to deserve the harsh treatment he gets. He wears a dorky hat and tie, and he more often than not goes around his business in a clumsy fashion, stumbling with his words and actions. And like the actors who are cast as his classmates, he looks far too old to be a teenager. Why even a cavegirl would fall head over heels for this character is a complete mystery. As for Eba the cavegirl, it's also hard to swallow this character, not just for her accepting of this dork. True, actress Cynthia Thompson does bring some beauty, though it doesn't make sense why this character has perfect white teeth, nice permed and washed hair, and shaved legs while her fellow cavepeople look grungy and weathered. A much bigger problem with the character is that she seldom gets to express herself properly. She of course doesn't speak English at first... but doesn't get to speak that much English later in the movie after Rex gives her some language lessons. And the little English she gets to learn is mostly confined to key words such as "boobs", as well as supposedly essential terms like, "May I sit on your face?"

You might think that with that last revelation, Cavegirl might sound like it's shaping up to be a very sexy movie. Think again. The movie quickly cuts away when the inevitable scene of Rex and Eba getting it on comes up, but not seeing Rex having sex may actually be a blessing. There are some breasts and one rear end exposed in the movie, but the movie never gets the least bit erotic. In fact, by today's standards this R-rated movie gets very close to deserving a PG-13 rating. Not just when it comes to sexual material, but also with the level of humor that is dished out. It's bad enough that the humor lacks any kind of raunchy bite, but what makes it even worse is that it lakes any kind of bite at all. Supposed gag after supposed gag falls completely flat. Rex is distracted while riding his bicycle, and rides into a dumpster. Ha ha, isn't that funny? Rex's classmates put glue on his desk's chair, and he rips his pants when he stands up. Ha ha, isn't that funny? A caveman farts into the face of another caveman. Ha ha, isn't that funny? Eba likes the smell of Rex's deodorant stick so much she tries to eat the stick. Ha ha, isn't that funny? When Eba spots a condom that Rex pulls out of his pocket, she blows it up like a balloon. Ha ha, isn't that funny? Actually, for that last one I was wondering how Eba would recognize a balloon-like object enough to instantly blow it up. Believe me, there are plenty of other moments in Cavegirl that will have you wondering about stuff that the filmmakers did not intend. Towards the end of the movie, one thought came up in my mind much stronger than any other thought I had while watching the movie. That thought was a hope that somehow the negative of this movie gets lost sometime in the future. That's because I fear that thousands of years from now, if people of the future find and watch this movie, they will conclude that people of my generation - the 1980s - were a bunch of primitives who lived in caves.

(Posted April 19, 2021)

Check for availability on Amazon (DVD - Standard version)
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Check for availability on Amazon (DVD, part of Crown International movies bundle)

See also: Luggage Of The Gods, Missing Link, Time Trackers

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