10,000 B.C.

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I loves me a good caveman movie. That's a contradiction, of course, because, technically, there are no "good" caveman movies. But still, many of the genre's questionable virtues are paraded proudly in the hilariously awful 10,000 B.C.

Look, it takes a certain kind of perverse moxie to rush millions of dollars worth of 21st century technology to render a primitive world of stone axes, thatched huts and fur-lined underthings, but daddy schlockmeister Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) has never been accused of bashfulness or restraint. And he throws everything at the screen in this overwrought epic. There are mammoth stampedes, saber-toothed tiger attacks and more native African kitsch than the Lion King's Broadway gift shop could unload in a decade.

The prehistoric visuals are indeed lush — backdrops of windswept plains, hulking mountain ranges and vast deserts — but trouble begins as soon as actors speak. A half-asleep Omar Sharif narrates the fractured yarn, which details a buff young buck named D'leh (Steven Strait) keen to steal his tribe's title of top mammoth hunter from an all-mighty warrior named Tic Tic. Our Barney Rubble aspirant needs the mighty "White Spear" to get busy with his beloved blue-eyed cutie Evolet (Camilla Belle), who's discovered the secrets of heavy mascara about 10 millennia early. After smearing his face with Malt-O-Meal-hued war paint, D'leh wins the spear only to find that his dream girl and some kinsmen have been hijacked by "four legged demons," or horse-backed marauders, who've taken them to a massive dessert slave camp where some ominous experimental construction project is underway.

Faster than you can say Stargate, D'leh and pals travel over their native snow-covered mountain ridge and right into the heart of Saharan Africa, which might prompt heart attacks in high-school geography teachers should they stop laughing. Things only get stupider from here. And if that's not enough work for a growing cave boy, our hero also invents celestial navigation and learns rudimentary agriculture.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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