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‘Young Einstein’ (PG)

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 04, 1989

It's an ugly question but someone's gotta ask: Did Crocodile Dundee and Pee-wee Herman have a child? If not, then who's this Yahoo Serious kid with the Aussie accent, the aren't-I-cute? demeanor and the touted box-office success back home, carrying his pre-processed legend, "Young Einstein," to 1,200 theaters across America?

Is Yahoo Serious? And what exactly are the quarantine laws for wildlife visits of this kind?

Moving Warner Bros.' hype aside for a moment (the team of bulldozers will be right along): "Young Einstein" is a comedic retelling of the Einstein story, in which -- deep in the cartoonish wilds of Tasmania -- apple farmer's son Einstein (Yahoo Serious, a k a Greg Pead; now the pseudonym makes sense), seeking a formula to carbonate his father's flat beer, splits the first atom. "Energy equals mass toims the square of the speed of loit," he says, and he embarks on an odyssey to patent his E=mc² formula, which involves:

Surviving the unscrupulous schemings of jealous patent-office manager Preston Preston (John Howard).

Inventing the world's first surfboard, the electric guitar and rock 'n' roll.

Falling in love with "Marie Curie" (Odile le Clezio).

Triumphantly uncovering his discoveries before the 1906 Science Academy Awards, a social gathering that includes "Darwin," "Edison," "Freud," "The Wright Brothers," "Marconi" and "humor."

Certainly, "Einstein" has some funny moments. Serious (do you call him Serious on second reference?) gives the movie his all -- as producer, writer, director, star and, in Buster Keaton fashion (minus the artistry), stuntman.

Apparently Serious, or Yahoo, or Pead, came up with the idea of becoming a great comedian while reading Charlie Chaplin's autobiography on Mount Everest. The idea for "Young Einstein," though, occurred halfway down the Amazon when he saw a native sporting an Einstein T-shirt.

Some legends are born. Others can be found on Warner Bros. press releases.

Whether you find "Einstein" funny or just another Croc probably depends on whether you had a stuffed koala as a kid or on whether you just like watching things because they're weird. But don't go looking for the bigger questions. The most burning inquiry will be, "How does he make his hair stand up like that?"

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