GENRE: Cavecore buddy comedy
THE PITCH: Director Harold Ramis and producer Judd Apatow pit hunter Zed (Jack Black) and gatherer Oh (Michael Cera) against the ancient world. After Zed tastes the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, the pair embarks on a quest to find the meaning of life, and rescue a couple of bangin' cave chicks.
MONEY SHOTS: Oh’s staccato gyrations during the “Jackal Dance” at the village campfire. A cougar pounces on a terrified Oh from a low-hanging branch. Zed gets bucked off of one of Abel’s (Paul Rudd) cows. A bolt of lightning strikes Cain (David Cross) smack dab on his forehead, Harry Potter style. The gold-plated, virgin-filled orgy, soundtracked by a freestyling Jack Black in Sodom’s lavish palace. Zed topples some rickety scaffolding in a human version of Mouse Trap, inadvertently starting a riot.
BEST LINE: “This is my son and we’re playing a game … burny burny cut cut,” says Abraham (Hank Azaria) when caught holding a knife over a bound-and-gagged Isaac atop a pyre (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, aka Superbad’s McLovin).
WORST LINE: “It has sort of a knowledgey taste,” says Zed after biting into one of the radioactive-looking apples dangling from the Tree of Knowledge.
PRE-TOILET HUMOR: Oh has to share quarters with Cain and Abel’s brother Seth (Gabriel Sunday), who tries to impress his bedmate with the robustness of his flatulence. Zed taste-tests some feces while he and Oh are tracking their cave hotties. A shackled Oh can’t keep from going number one — while chained upside-down.
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: Zed and Oh encounter the wheel for the first time on Cain’s cart, tossing their hands up in joy as if on a roller coaster, only to projectile vomit moments later. (“I feel like a bird!” exclaims Oh.) Later, Adam (Ramis) runs Cain out of the village in a two-cart chase that looks like Ben Hur on Quaaludes.
FLESH FACTOR: As hunter/gatherers, both Oh and Zed sport animal skin hot pants. Oh endures a “thorough” gold body painting at the orgy by Sodom’s High Priest (Oliver Platt). A metallic Oh reluctantly lubes up the High Priest’s hairy chest.
FASHION STATEMENTS: Zed and Oh’s costume changes include everything from animal pelt shrugs to tattered slave garb to Gladiator-style military get-ups. The hairstyles are less varied, but just as noticeable, and range from teased and beaded woodland chic to orgy-appropriate half ponytails.
BOTTOM LINE: Ramis delivers a funny and not too raunchy look at early civilization without giving it all away in the trailers. Azaria’s Abraham has a series of Old Testament zingers that folks will likely be quoting even after the movie’s left theaters. Black and Cera basically play themselves, only in loincloths and Spartan armor, but the duo proves to be a natural pairing in Zed’s quest to pick his destiny.