Blast from the Past [1999]

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Coasting on the successes of Gods and Monsters and George of the Jungle, Brendan Fraser turns in yet another winning performance in this fish-out-of-water comedy in which Pleasantville meets modern-day Los Angeles, with predictably funny results. Fraser stars as Adam, who was born in the bomb shelter of his paranoid inventor dad (a less-manic-than-usual Christopher Walken), who spirited his pregnant wife (Sissy Spacek, in fine comic form) underground when he thought the Communists dropped the bomb (actually, it was a plane crash). Armed with enough supplies to last 35 years, the parents bring up Adam in Leave It to Beaver style with nary any exposure to the outside world. When the supplies run out, and dad suffers a heart attack, Fraser goes up to modern-day L.A. for some shopping and long-awaited culture shock. More of a cute premise with lots of clever ideas attached than a fully fleshed out story, Blast from the Past is also supposed to be part romantic comedy, as the hunky Adam hooks up with his jaded Eve (Alicia Silverstone) and tries to convince her to marry him and go underground. The sparks don't fly, though, because Silverstone is saddled with the triple whammy of being miscast, playing an underwritten character, and suffering a very bad hairdo. Fraser, however, carries the film lightly and easily on his broad, goofy shoulders, mixing Adam's gee-whiz innocence with genuine emotion and curiosity; only Fraser could pull off Adam's first glimpse of a sunrise or the ocean with both humor and pathos. Also winning is Dave Foley as Silverstone's gay best friend, who manages to make the most innocuous statements sound like comic gems. --Mark Englehart

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