By Leah Rozen
March 01, 1999 12:00 PM

Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek

Blast from the Past is Pleasantville in reverse. Rather than traveling back in time from the present to the sitcom ’50s as Pleasantville’s hero did, Blast’s goofball leading man (Fraser, who continues to impress with his comedic skills and versatility) finds himself Rollerblading, disco-hopping and donning Armani in the here and now after emerging from a fallout shelter at age 35. His parents (Walken and Spacek) headed down into their remarkably well-stocked bomb shelter back in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Mistakenly thinking the Big One has dropped, they stay below for 35 years before sending out Fraser, their son born and raised in the shelter, to investigate the now radiation-free world.

Obviously, the movie’s set-up—both on paper and onscreen—takes some telling. It is actually by far the best part of Blast, since Walken is a lot of fun as a borderline loon and Spacek flutters about as a happy homemaker who grows too fond of cooking sherry during her years underground. Unfortunately, once the movie decides the air is clear and Fraser begins walking the earth, Blast becomes much spottier at hitting its comic targets and suffers from a bad case of the cutes. How cute? Fraser’s character is called Adam, and the young woman he develops a crush on is named Eve (Silverstone, who, to be charitable about it, is still going through an awkward stage). Blast is directed and cowritten by Hugh Wilson, who has made savvier (The First Wives Club) and funnier (Guarding Tess) movies in the past and will, one trusts, again. (PG-13)

Bottom Line: A Past with no future