1999; Rated PG-13; 108 Minutes
Brendan Frasier: Adam
Alicia Silverstone: Eve
Christopher Walken: Calvin
Sissy Spacek: Helen
Dave Foley: Troy
Produced by Renny
Harlin, Mary Kane, Sunil Perkash, Claire Rudnick Polstein,
Amanda Stern and Hugh Wilson; Directed by Hugh Wilson;
Screenwritten by Bill Kelly and Hugh Wilson
by DAVID KEYES
"The funniest thing an adult can do is act like a child."
As so, that phrase stayed in my mind during a screening
of "Blast From The Past," a lighthearted, original comedy
from director Hugh Wilson. The main character is Adam, played
by Brendan Frasier, who has been hidden in his parents'
underground bomb shelter for the first 35 years of his life.
During the Cuban missle crisis, you see, the newsbriefs
of Kennedy stating that missles were aimed at US targets
frightened a married couple, and so they sought shelter
in their specially-built habitat underground. A timelock
for 35 years was set, while the couple figured that Earth
had been exposed to nuclear holocaust.
then the shelter's locks open up, and their son Adam has
grown into a man, clueless about life but well-mannered
and well-educated by his devoted parents. They send him
above the surface into a world he's never seen before, and
the journey is sometimes so charming and cute that it was
easy to look past numerous flaws and appreciate its silliness
about the human exposure to society.
thing is, Brendan Frasier is one of Hollywood's most gifted
young actors around, and you are reminded of that everytime
you see the expression on his face here, as the clueless
35-year-old son of these two parents. It's probably no coincidence
that they cast him opposite of the delightful Alicia Silverstone,
since she herself has already been in this kind of role.
I guess the filmmakers figured that she could give him a
few pointers on how to manage the character's personality,
and its somewhat evident, more or less, in scenes like the
ones in which Adam sees sunlight for the first time.
plays Eve, and is stunned by the great manners and compliments
Adam carries into the world. She, of course, at first doesn't
realize he's been in a bomb shelter for 35 years, but the
setup is helpful in conveying effective 'clueless' chemistry.
They have great energy and never once fail to cature the
hearts of their target viewers. They are, what you might
say, the reason for the film being.
first half of the movie, though, is best, because it shows
how Calvin and Helen, Adam's parents, manage the life of
their son while in the missle shelter. These are the kind
of parents that you'd want to have if you were in a 50s
television show; they're sweet, charismatic, and want what's
best for their son. Then again, who doesn't?
after Adam and Eve (!) hit it off once he reaches the surface,
the situations that follow are both boring and predictable,
in a matter of speaking. We obviously know that these two
are going to fall in love, but why couldn't the film explore
a more depthful relationship instead of turning to conventional
subplots, like ones involving cults and social workers?
I mean, Frasier and Silverstone are both terrific young
talents, but if you're going to put them into a movie together,
put them into a movie that explores explores each of their
fondnesses for the other. We know how Eve feels, but how
same goes for Adam's parents. Even though they're popular
in their neighborhood (the film begins with a block party
at their house), it's hard to see how they can carry on
a meaningful relationship at this point in their lives.
There's no chemistry whatsoever, even though Christopher
Walken tries his hardest to successfully spark it. Naturally,
if you both go down into the bomb shelter with a three-and-a-half
decade time lock, you gotta stay together, but even then
the attention is not focused on them, and we get the feeling
that these parents married each other on a dare, or rather,
as a business deal.
the movie is funny and original. For your standard teenage
audience, in which the film is aimed, that should be enough.
But don't always think that an idea as original as this
can go as far as it should. No, "Blast From The Past" isn't
a bad film, but it could have been much better if it had
explored the relationships better.
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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