My Favorite Martian (1999) 1/2 star out of 4. Starring Jeff Daniels, Christopher Lloyd, Wallace Shawn and Ray Walston
Sometimes we film critics go above and beyond the call of duty. We sit - and suffer - through some products so you won't have to.
Such is the case with My Favorite Martian, a witless, childish adaptation of the mid-1960s sitcom.
It is a movie that contains laughs, but they are more of the embarrassing type than ones created by humorous situations.
Jeff Daniels as Tim O'Hara and Christopher Lloyd as his "Uncle Martin" spend most of their time mugging outrageously rather than acting. They are joined by Wallace Shawn, who is so over the top that you can cover him with pineapple and use him for an Eastern Sunday dinner.
It's a sad pronouncement on a movie when a computer generated living spacesuit conveys more personality than any of the live actors.
Thus it is with this silly, crass venture.
Am I being too critical of something that is meant to be merely a piece of fluff. Not really. Just because a movie aims for the lowest common denominator doesn't mean it should be praised when it hits its mark.
Even the special effects have that second-rate feel to them, more along those of a made-for-TV movie than a big studio motion picture.
The plot, what little there is, revolves around "Uncle Martin" crashing on Earth and his attempts to repair his spaceship and return to Mars. Along the way Lloyd makes numerous cliched remarks about how backward humans are, while learning the joys of ice cream.
It's all very juvenile and aimed for a young, undiscerning and unsophisticated audience.
And of course, the ending leaves an opening for a sequel which, if one is produced, should go directly to video or the Disney Channel, where such low-fare offerings can be switched off with the pressing of a button.
My Favorite Martian is an black eye for the Disney studio. It is a movie that should make a warp speed jump to the video shelves.
Bob Bloom is the film critic at the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, Ind. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com
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