Reviewed by: Rev. Bryan Griem
Sin and the Bible
CAVEMEN—Do they fit with the Bible? Answer
Hunting in the Bible
Should I save sex for marriage? Answer
What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
Why is there a disconnect between Hollywood and the rest of America? Answer
What is being done to change the values of Hollywood? Answer
|Featuring:||Jack Black, Michael Cera, Olivia Wilde, Paul Rudd (Abel), Oliver Platt, David Cross, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Vinnie Jones, Hank Azaria, Juno Temple, June Diane Raphael, Xander Berkeley, Gia Carides, Horatio Sanz, David Pasquesi, Matthew J. Willig, Harold Ramis, Rhoda Griffis, Gabriel Sunday, Eden Riegel, Kyle Gass, Bill Hader, Marshall Manesh, Rion Hunter, Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg, Eric Gipson, Lacie Manshack, Matt Besser, Drue Franklin, Weston Hollenshead, Paul Scheer, Joaquin Townsend, Bryan Massey, Keet Davis, Tim Hilton, Ashley Nicole Caldwell, Mark Cotone, Jack Walker, Jamal Sims, Paul Benshoof, Kelly Connolly, Leslie Geldbach, Katherine Miller, Michael Morris, Sarah Christine Smith, Kayla Clary|
“Analyze This,” “Analyze That,” “Ghost Busters,” “Groundhog Day,” “The Ice Harvest,” “Bedazzled,” “Multiplicity”
|Producer:||Apatow Productions, Ocean Pictures, Judd Apatow, Andrew Epstein, Harold Ramis, Rodney Rothman, Clayton Townsend, Laurel A. Ward, Nicholas Weinstock|
“Meet your ancestors.”
And they say biblical literacy is dead! Perhaps this is the final nail in its coffin. Will “Year One” be understood as an anachronistic bawdy romp through the Old Testament, or will viewers only understand it as a mere slapstick hodgepodge of actor Jack Black doing what he always does, but in some kind of pretend historic past? Christians will see the Bible debased and made light of, while secular folks will likely not get it, and they don’t need to since nothing about the movie is true to form. If they understand the biblical allusions, there will no doubt be some who will make the leap to judgment on the Bible, believing its contents to be quite nearly as archaic, silly, and unenlightened as the movie depicts.
The story begins with a tribe of cavemen, living a life as hunter-gatherers before the time of Adam and Eve. Recognizing this is a comedy, let me just point out that this detail would be a problem, biblically speaking, since Adam and Eve were the first human beings, and there wouldn’t have been people running around hunting and gathering before them.
CAVEMEN—Do they fit with the Bible? Answer
What was Adam, the first man, really like? Learn the amazing facts about this unique man from whom we all descended! And see why the First Adam needed the Last Adam.
Anyway, hunter Zed (Black) proves at once to be one of his community’s loser members. While there are a few Zeds in the Bible (short for Zedekiah), there are places in the world today that use “zed” to mean “zero,” and at an early stage Black introduces himself as the son of “Zero.” So, he is essentially less than nothing, the tribe agrees, and he is thrown out for eating the forbidden fruit. Zed takes with him an effeminate gatherer named “Oh” (Michael Cera), and the two unlikely buddies go off to explore the civilized world.
Immediately, the two are introduced to higher society as they encounter wheel-users, Cain and Abel, the first children of Adam and Eve (who really ate the biblical forbidden fruit in the Bible). They witness the first murder in history, although it just comes across as something to laugh at for the audience, and something to worry about for the characters as they are forced to go with fratricidal Cain (David Cross) when he flees his home. In the Biblical account, God marks Cain for his sin, and though the circumstances are convoluted in the movie, this event is depicted with interesting special effect.
Disturbing is the introduction of Cain’s sister, Lilith (named for a legendary alternate wife to Adam) who is here presented as an avowed homosexual. It isn’t long before Zed and Oh happen upon Abraham at the moment of his sacrifice of Isaac, and they are the ones who stay his hand, not the Angel of the Lord, à la Genesis. Of course, Abraham mistakes Zed for an angel, and the Bible is made to report a perception rather than an inspired fact.
This scene ushers the audience into yet another culture, a Hebrew one, in which circumcision plays a big part and which is made a constant source of humor throughout the movie. Because of this, the word “penis” must have earned the Guinness record for number of times it can be said in a ninety minute period.
While the beginning of mankind came thousands of years before the time of Abraham, the next and concluding section of the movie are contemporaneous, as the goofy two head from the home of Abraham to the city of Sodom (of Sodom and Gomorrah infamy). While they had parted company with Cain earlier, they find him again in the city, and there Cain says a few memorable lines like “the great thing about Sodom is the sodomy,” and something on the order of “what happens in Sodom (read, Vegas) stays in Sodom.” The depiction of Sodom as pagan, licentious, homosexual and perverse is probably close to the truth, though the real place was so much more evil that God completely wiped it off the map.
Profanity in the film covers the gamut, and everything from the F-bomb, all the way down, gets uttered. Although it is not as constant as in some other films, what doesn’t get said gets depicted—from women looking up men’s loincloths, to men looking down women’s blouses. Food is sexualized, everyone seems to be motivated with hopes of “laying” with someone, and all manner of sexual practice is referenced, such as masturbation, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, etc. One especially blasphemous sexual exchange about the “holy of holies” almost created an expectation of lightning to come down and consume the entire cast and crew as I watched, but, of course, the movie is made, and there it is.
While nudity wasn’t a factor in the film, there were scantily-clad orgy participants, breasts were poked, statuary genitalia were emphasized, and off-screen fornication took place.
Comedic violence in the movie was more final than you would normally expect, in that Cain does end the life of his brother, chopped heads roll in a marauding sequence, and young women die as they are thrown into a sacrificial fire. These are not especially amusing, although the Cain sequence is reminiscent of Monty Python humor where the dead man continues to get up until he is finally and completely pounded to death. Along with these are multiple fight scenes, people squished, speared, bonked, punched, thrown, and whatever else you can imagine.
There is smoking and drinking in the film. Intoxicants are brought in on several occasions; from young Isaac mentioning how he goes to Sodom to get high and drunk, to things consumed by the sacrificial virgins that take visible effect immediately.
The gross factor in the movie is one of its biggest humor contributions, so if vomit, flatulence, urination, coprophagia, homosexuality and defecation make you laugh, here’s a movie for you. There are moments when you can’t help but laugh, but its more out of the sheer over-the-top disgusting nature of it than to any truly laughable humor.
Overall, I would describe this movie as a very low-brow, adult potty-humor sort of trash. Yes, it has its moments, but like the payoff at the end of a dirty joke, it just isn’t worth it, not for God’s holy people anyway. The rating may PG-13, but I wouldn’t suggest parents allow their thirteen year olds to see it. This is not “School of Rock” or “Nacho Libre” (Black’s tamer claims to fame).
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.