Review: 'Cavemen' may help push a genre toward extinction

Even if the rom-com "Cavemen" wasn't opening a week after the similarly themed "That Awkward Moment," it would still feel like yesterday's news. At least "Awkward," contrived and mediocre as that Zac Efron vehicle is, has some It-boy sheen.

"Cavemen" writer-director Herschel Faber has sketched such a thin and unfunny look at L.A. singles, it should mark the death knell for movies about child-men on the make.

Meet aspiring screenwriter Dean (Skylar Astin), a decent sort blessed with not one but two jerky circles of guy pals. He lives with one group in a loft dubbed "the cave," hence, the film's ha-ha title. The other group is an annoying trio of fellow writers. 

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Dean is supposedly so commitment-phobic he won't buy a car (lest he give in to a life in L.A.), but romantically, he's desperate to find "the one." Further contradictions abound.

Dean's best friend, Tess (Camilla Belle), is a soulful beauty he fleetingly dated back in the day. Why they're just buds makes no sense beyond being a fake plot device to power Dean's requisite "learning curve." You can see the movie's ending coming from outer space.

The appealing Astin ("Pitch Perfect") gamely tromps through Dean's various awkward moments, while Belle is far too intelligent an actress for this wan material. As a crass hook-up king, Chad Michael Murray (from TV's "One Tree Hill") does what he can with a tiresome role. That the estimable — and notoriously selective — Jason Patric landed in this as a boozy talent agent is perhaps the film's singular surprise.

"Cavemen." MPAA rating: R for sexual content, nudity and language. Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes. At the Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD. 


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