Cavemen slackers fight over Ali Larter in National Lampoon's Stoned Age Unrated

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

In what would now be considered the Stone Age, the National Lampoon brand stood for cutting-edge humor. It was a hilarious magazine, and one or two of the many movies released with that name over the title were genuine comedy classics.

Now it's a warning label. The ad copy on the DVD release describes this caveman comedy as "pre-hysterical!" That's truth in advertising, people. The jokes are older than all known recorded humor.

Adam Rifkin, who also wrote and directed, stars as Ishbo, a bespectacled and much-abused caveman who pines for the prettiest girl in the tribe (Larter) but loses her to his thug of an older brother, Thudnik (MacArthur).

None of it is funny at all.

The chief interesting thing about it is just how transparently auteur Rifkin aches for this to be an early-seventies Woody Allen movie. From Ishbo's characterization of a glasses-wearing cowardly stammering neurotic caveman shlub who can't get laid, to his deliberate constant anachronisms, to the angst-ridden kvetching over the meaning of life that punctuates Ishbo's frequent pratfalls and inadequacies, to the moment after the dying chief calls him an idiot when Ishbo turns directly to the camera and tells the viewer, "My father's last words," it's all Woody, or rather an attempt at Woody, or maybe Woody thrice removed, or if you prefer, Woody karaoke, only with less wit and more of the loser falling in mammoth dung or being hit in the head with rocks.

About the only thing he doesn't do is call the relationship a dead shark. The movie emerges as such a pathetic attempt to duplicate the shtick of somebody who once did this kind of thing much better that you can't help but feel sorry for it.

David Carradine, whose post-Kill Bill career bump sure as hell didn't last long, appears as Mookoo, Gary Busey shows up as the assassin from another tribe, Talia Shire cashes a quick paycheck as Ishbo's disapproving mom, and porn star Ron Jeremy appears as the tribe member who poses holding a huge, phallic club at waist-level. (Ha ha.) Carol Alt appears as Queen Fallopia, leader of a nearby tribe of leggy Amazons who hate men but want the wandering Ishbo to impregnate them.

As you can probably guess, Ishbo passes up the chance. He's a caveman too stupid to live, but in this movie he's right at home.