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Blast From The Past (1999)

A feelgood fish-out-of-water comedy with a borderline s-f theme. In 1962, as the Cuba crisis hots up and a plane crashes in suburbia, right-wing paranoid boffin Christopher Walken and his pregnant wife (Sissy Spacek) retreat into their extensive underground shelter, assuming that the Third World War has begun. Thirty-five years later, the time-lock releases and shelter-born innocent Brendan Fraser ventures out into a world in search of supplies and 'a healthy girl'. The initial joke is that the nice neighbourhood above the shelter has gone to hell, so it looks like exactly like a conservative's vision of a post-apocalypse mutant wasteland: porno shops, transvestite hookers, heavy metal bars, graffiti and drive-bys with squirt guns. Fraser, reprising his act from Encino Man, wanders through modern Los Angeles and hooks up with normal girl Alicia Silverstone, who helps him realise a fortune on his vintage baseball cards and gently introduces him to the real world. It's a shame that Walken and Spacek, both excellent, have so little to do after the first act, but Fraser's amiability and sterling hero qualities mean that the charm doesn't quite run out even though the jokes are familiar. Directed by Hugh Wilson.

First published in this form here.

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