Over the history of motion pictures there have been tons of caveman movies. They have often caused me to wonder how a screenwriter goes about writing a caveman flick. I mean, does he actually write out every “ook” and “ugh” that the cast must utter, or does he figure that the improvisational skills of the actors is likely more than adequate to handle prehistoric languages? Which approach was taken by the makers of today’s film, 1985’s “Cavegirl,” is unknown.
The film opens with a series of shots of a helicopter flying low, and in dramatic fashion, over the desert. Why? We have no idea! But never mind that, the film quickly shifts to hapless high school geek Rex (Daniel Roebuck). He is constantly picked on by his classmates, despite the fact that Rex is much larger than they are and could, I think, easily take them in a fight. They resort to the classic pranks such as glue on the chair, loosening the screws on his desk, and, of course, causing him to accidentally wander into the girls locker room.
On this particular day, Rex and his classmates have a field trip to visit an old mine where archaeological finds have been discovered. While there, the pranks on Rex continue and he ends up separated from the group. As he wanders into one of the caves, he encounters some glowing crystals. At the same moment, we return to the helicopter, which seems to be conducting some sort of weapons test nearby. Apparently, glowing crystals + weapons test = time warp…and Rex finds himself in a prehistoric world.
It doesn’t take long for Rex to meet the hottest cave babe since Betty Rubble. Her name is Eba (Cindy Ann Thompson) and she immediately takes a liking to Rex. After all, he may be a geek in his world, but compared with the neighborhood “Quest for Fire” rejects, he looks pretty fine to Eba. At first, the other cavemen don’t take kindly to Rex, but they soon start to warm up to him.
For the rest of the film, there’s really not much in the way of a story. That is, unless you count Rex’s numerous attempts to play, and I quote, “hide the weenie” with Eba as plot. Eventually he has to do battle with some nasty cannibals, but that takes all of about 8 minutes.
“Cavegirl” is almost completely devoid of humor. It’s just not even remotely funny. I think the big problem is that the premise is all wrong. There’s much more potential in bringing the cavegirl to the modern world and having her fall in love with the geek than there is in having the obnoxious geek go back to the stone age. I think the titular cavegirl, Cindy Ann Thompson, might have done quite well in that scenario. She didn’t exactly go on to a big career after this…the high point seems to have been playing “Third Hooker” in the Traci Lords vehicle “Not of This Earth.” Still, she’s cute, she’s got a sweet smile, and a playful innocence in her approach that might have worked well had the material been better.
Eba’s appeal may also be helped by the fact that Roebuck’s character is so unlikable. I mean, he’s the only dude on the planet who has mastered walking upright, yet he still thinks the way to win the girl is to act like a sexual predator. It’s rare for me to not cheer for the geek character, I was one myself, but I kept wanting a pterodactyl to swoop in and carry him off. Alas, the only prehistoric creatures on display in this film are a bear, a mountain lion, and…goats?!?
“Cavegirl” may be one of the lowest of low points for 80’s comedies Proof that even in 1985 Hollywood had not advanced as far up the evolutionary chart as they may have thought.