Fresh from her critical, as well as finacial hit debut film, “Eve’s Bayou,” director Kasi Lemmons returns to the “indie” world with Samuel L. Jackson as paranoid schizophrenic Romulus Ledbetter in “Caveman’s Valentine”. In this incarnation, the busiest man in Hollywood has donned a fake beard and bad dreadlock wig to get into character — a character that is so confusing and ridiculous that this bad facial hair is the least of his problems.
Absurd facial prosthetics aside, there is also the sadly indecipherable script to be dealt with. Romulus transforms from crazy homeless man to cherished concert pianist to brilliant detective to action hero and right back to that vagrant whom we all know and love — all in a matter of a scant few days!
Fear not though. While the film is stupidly conceived and poorly directed, it is also full of some incredibly contrived scenarios that would fall under the “lucky coincidence” category. This is quite simply a concrete sign of lazy screenwriting. Instead of taking the time to figure out a smart way for good ole’ Rom to find the evil photographer, David Leppenraub (Colm Feore), let us just make his old friend from art school Lep’s newest friend who just happens to be throwing a fundraiser at Satan’s home! Anthony Michæl Hall (portraying a character who easily could have been completely removed with no loss of story) plays that typical rich, pasty white guy who finds it in his heart to help out the poor yet seemingly talented sap. We are not even going to delve into his 3 bedroom, 2 bath cave in the middle of Inwood Park — a cave which everybody, except other homeless of course, seems to know about.
“Caveman’s Valentine” is really not much more than an urban “Scooby Doo” episode, only Shaggy is black and with far more facial hair. Basically, if watching Mr. Jackson, with said-wig, talking to walls and making a general a*s of himself is your idea of a good film, then by all means “Caveman’s Valentine” will work for you. If these scenes do not quite ring true to you then you are sane and should heed the words of this reviewer and avoid this film with all your might.