A screenwriter tries to fall in love in order to lend authenticity to his script about a man falling in love in Cavemen, a tiresome film that itself knows nothing but other rom-com plots.
Ignoring the belief held by his friend Jay (Chad Michael Murray) — a lothario in the Neil Patrick Harris How I Met Your Mother mold — that guys are driven by a primal urge to hook up, struggling movie scribe Dean (Skylar Astin) desperately searches for “the one,” clueless to the fact that she’s his beautiful best friend, Tess (Camilla Belle).
In the lead-up to the obvious realization that Dean and Tess are meant for each other, writer-director Herschel Faber indulges in the usual, worn-out genre conventions: guys talking dirty about sex, suffering through caught-cheating misadventures, and going on a series of bad dates that are compiled in a montage almost as feeble as the scenes in which Dean asks for dating advice from his young nephew (who, in the process, asks about Dean’s masturbation habits).
Resembling a young Dane Cook but more modest and charming than that description implies, Astin proves a reasonably engaging romantic lead.
Yet given Cavemen‘s dutiful adherence to formula, he’s powerless to perk up such a flaccid attempt at art-imitates-dating-life silliness.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 5, 2014