Blast From The Past

on February 12, 1999 by Kristan Ginther
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It's 1962, the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and scientific genius Calvin Webber (Christopher Walken) knows that the "Commies" are going to bomb America. In order to protect himself and his pregnant wife Helen (Sissy Spacek) from impending doom, he builds the most elaborate fallout shelter that the Western Hemisphere has ever known. So when a plane crashes into his house and he mistakes it for the H-bomb, the fallout shelter becomes their home. When their child, Adam, is born, the Webbers raise him "Ozzie & Harriet"-style to have impeccable manners, an education worthy of Harvard, and an insatiable appetite for Perry Como tunes. When Adam ("Gods and Monsters'" Brendan Fraser) reaches adulthood, he dreams of leaving the bunker to find a wife. His dream turns into reality on his 35th birthday, when he emerges into the filth and seediness of a bad neighborhood in Los Angeles.
To help him make the transition, he enlists the aid of a beautiful but jaded woman, Eve ("Excess Baggage's" Alicia Silverstone), and her gay roommate, Troy ("Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy's" David Foley).
"Blast from the Past's" key flaw is the pacing of the script, which was written by Hugh Wilson (also the film's director) and Bill Kelly. It starts out too leisurely, has an assured middle 45 minutes, but then is rushed at the end--so much so that an out-of-place voiceover by Silverstone is employed in the last few minutes of the movie to tidy up loose ends. Also, a running joke featuring a group of cliche California religious nuts who worship the Webbers is boring, unfunny, and takes up too much screen time--time which could have been used to smooth out the rough ending.
It is a tribute to the film's charismatic actors--specifically Fraser, Walken, and Foley, who each rise way above the conventional material--that the film is as entertaining and funny as it is.
Despite the talented cast and an inherently funny idea, Wilson and company's mediocre script squanders what could have been a highly original comedy. Starring Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, David Foley, Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek. Directed by Hugh Wilson. Written by Hugh Wilson and Bill Kelly. Produced by Renny Harlin and Hugh Wilson. A New Line release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG-13 for brief language, sex and drug references. Running time: 110 min
Tags: Starring Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, David Foley, Christopher Walken and Sissy Spacek. Directed by Hugh Wilson. Written by Hugh Wilson, Bill Kelly, Produced by Renny Harlin, Hugh Wilson, New Line, Romantic comedy
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