Russell does the honorable Christian thing and starts throwing a hissy fit. Later, an apologetic Dick privately tells him to come to his house that night so they can discuss matters. "There's something I must show you," he says. "Something you have to see to believe." Russell, being a good Christian, turns down this obvious pick-up line, and then there's a ten-minute interlude where Russell alternately talks to Neckless and Maya Rudolph's Grandfather, trying to find a loophole to a rule that states that book recommendations must be approved unanimously. When it looks like the movie is about to turn into a 19th-century legal thriller about book recommendations, Russell finally gives in and goes to visit Dick at the urging of his ugly wife, who knows that sodomy is grounds for divorce.
Instead, Dick leads him out to a barn and shows him a time machine, which appears to be made out of cheap aluminum and plastic. It turns out that the reason Dick refuses to endorse the book is because he has seen the future, and Russell must see it for himself and learn why it is imperative that he not publish his retarded book for whatever reason. I couldn't understand why a man who owns a time machine is bothering to try and convince some random idiot about technicalities regarding the teachings of Jesus, instead of just going back in time and fetching Jesus to answer any questions directly. Actually, that question is probably heretical, so I will just move on.
After some more whining, Russell finally gets in the time machine, which works using "bottled-up rays from the sun that create an electrical disturbance which acts as a transporter." Dick explains that it's more complex than that, but "there is no time to discuss it." After all, it's not like they have all the time in the world, for that you would need to own a... never mind. Anyways, Dick activates the machine and a couple of giant glowing syringes shoot out expensive special effects, encompassing Russell and depositing him in present day Los Angeles. If there is a metaphor in having a strange whitish substance squirted all over you before waking up behind a dumpster in an alley, I don't want to know about it.
Knowing nothing about the culture he has landed in, Russell does the only thing he can think of: he immediately tries to fulfill every "fish out of water" / "confused time traveler" cliche at once. This includes:
- Pawning antique objects without realizing how much they are worth
- Wandering around staring at buildings and walking into things
- Being shocked and confused by modern technology
- Hearing modern colloquialisms and using them in incorrect and humorous ways
- A montage of trying on various styles of modern clothes
- Accidentally referring to events from his time as if everyone should know them
- Shaking a bellhop's hand when he puts it out for a tip
Once he's gotten it out of his system, Russell somehow wanders into a laundromat where a fat Hispanic man named Eddie is doing his laundry. Eddie is listening to a baseball game on a radio headset and explains this to Russell, who is confused because, as we all know, baseball didn't exist in the 1890s. Russell ends up talking to Eddie about where to find a nearby church, and Eddie tosses him a Yellow Pages while occasionally saying something in Spanish in order to remind you that he is Hispanic. Russell hears the motto "let your fingers do the walking" and is confused by it, because there are no Yellow Pages in the 1890s. Get it? He's a fish out of water and he doesn't know stuff we take for granted, that's what makes it funny!
When Russell eventually finds a church, he is seated in a pew next to a creepy old man who looks like a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Charlton Heston. They have the most bizarre conversation in the whole movie. I swear all these lines are real:
Man: (staring at Russell's lap) "Nice looking Bible you have there."
Russell: "...thank you, sir."
Man: (still staring) "Yes... that's a nice one."
Russell: (confused) "Yes, yes it is..."
Man: "Have you ever noticed the strength in the pages of these Bibles? They are so thin, but they're very difficult to tear... they really hold up..."
Russell: (scared) "Yes... they certainly do..." (looks away)
Man: (stares intently at Russell's crotch, then his face)
This was the moment when I began to question how well thought out this entire movie was. I mean, it's obviously pro-Jesus, but depicting a crazy old man who sits down next to you in church and leers at your crotch for minutes on end seems hardly the way to bring people back into the flock. I thought maybe the crazy man was a metaphor for Satan, setting trials and tribulations for Russell, but I'm not sure I am willing to give this movie enough credit for something so multi-layered.
Anyways, before the man can kill Russell and eat his kidneys, Russell leaves the church and begins to have a moral crisis as he realizes how much better he is than everyone. To calm himself he buys a hot dog from a vendor, then suddenly sits down and puts the hot dog aside as he battles a bout of extreme constipation. Just then, another tow-headed youth comes along to steal something. This time the child is a girl, and we can tell she is not a prim and proper little girl because her hair is in pigtails and she is wearing overalls. When Russell isn't looking, the little girl grabs his weiner. She steals the hot dog too, ha ha! God, I'm lame.
If we've learned one thing about Jesus from this movie, it's that for some unspecified reason he is against stealing, so of course Russell has to chase her down to scold her. Oddly, the sight of a strange grown man chasing a little girl through a park apparently arouses no suspicion, so when he finally catches her and begins to upbraid her, he does so without four cops and a screaming mother beating his head in for being a pervert. Russell even offers to buy her a hot dog if she's hungry. So remember that, good Christians: offer to buy food for small children who are all alone in the park. Time Changer told you so.
Just before Russell finally lets the little girl go he asks her:
Russell: "You do understand that stealing is a sin!"
Girl: "Says who?" (runs away)
Russell: (dramatic music, pause, closeup on his troubled face) "The... Lord says..."
The idea that a random seven year old girl doesn't fully understand basic morality thoroughly devastates Russell, who suddenly realizes how debased and depraved the world has become. So he does the only thing he can think of: randomly wander around some more. He goes to a department store to loudly complain about the lingerie section, then he returns to the laundromat to talk to Eddie again, and bug him some more about going to church. I couldn't tell if Eddie worked at the laundromat or if he just enjoyed washing his clothes over and over. Neither would particularly surprise me.