"Encino Man" is really about Cro-Magnon Man but, alas, it feels as if it were written by Neanderthal man.
Crude and loopy, it follows as a couple of L.A. teen-agers come across a cave man trapped in the ice, free him, and haul him off to Encino High, where, they believe, his coolness will rub off on them, and as he rises through the school's vicious caste system, so will they.
One big problem: the movie can't really make up its own mind who its star is. Sean Astin is the nominal headliner, but he's not very interesting and his character is conceived in such rancid, greedy, shallow terms nobody cares about him. Pauly Shore, famous from MTV as a "veejay", is a likely candidate, but the script isn't really written to showcase him either, and he too frequently feels like a passerby. He mumbles an argot so dense with Valleyspeak and weird animal sounds (weasels, for example) that he could have come himself from the ice age. Brendan Fraser, in the title role, is agreeably goony but he's so remote from sympathy by his lack of language that he's much easier to watch than to treasure.