1999; Rated PG; 94 Minutes
Jeff Daniels: Tim O'Hara
Christopher Lloyd: Uncle Martin
Elizabeth Hurley: Brace Channing
Daryl Hannah: Lizzie
Barry Bernardi, Jerry Leider, Robert Shapird and Marc Toberoff;
Directed by Donald Petrie; Screenwritten by
Sherri Stoner and Deanna Oliver
by DAVID KEYES
Favorite Martian" takes a talented person like Christopher
Lloyd and puts him into the role of one of the most pathetic
and unforgiving characters to ever grace the screen. It
has to be the most annoying personality in history; ten
minutes after meeting this "Martian," I wanted him crushed
on the highway by a moving bus. And that was just the television
could just imagine the movie. I hesitated at first from
seeing it, but remembering the responsibility of film criticism,
and the necessity of an open mind, I ventured into the dark
halls of the theater, staggering towards the doorway of
the screening room. The audience from a previous showing
was just emerging, and the look on their faces was anything
but pleasing. It looked like they had just seen the Hindenburg
disaster. Considering that most of the audience was children,
that was a look no one should expect to see.
it turns out, the look on their faces meant everything,
and more. That infamously bad TV show from the 60s not only
transforms to the screen worse than ever, but also more
ridiculous than ever. Have you ever noticed how movie adaptations
of television shows never seem to lost the basic, single-thought
plot? It's the story that supports a few minutes of air
time, but for some reason, the filmmakers expect it to carry
out the length of your average movie. A new improved story
for these films is a logical answer, and could open up the
doors and limitations of the whole concept. But noooo; here
we go again, with another bird-brained story, cut together
like numerous television show plots. It is an insult to
the desire of seeing amusing comedy.
but anyone with half a brain to realize something like that
obviously had no connection with the making of "My Favorite
Martian." Not so long ago, "Meet The Deedles" came to the
screen, another live-action Disney film. It was clearly
one of the worst of 1998, as were "Mr. Magoo," "Flubber"
and "Jungle 2 Jungle" to 1997. Here is a similarly stupid
illogical movie, without motivation, reason, effort, ambition,
success, or a hint of recovery for a studio as recessed
as this one. It's a one-joke script, made entirely upon
the foundation of half-baked ideas and thoughts, pulled
together by the stringy substances that the filmmakers like
to call brains. Take one look at the main character, in
any one frame of the movie, and your at instant annoyance
with the project. The fact that a great man like Christopher
Lloyd is that aggrivating character gives me even more reason
to detest it.
character makes Jack Frost look inspired. He's a Martian
that looks like a human being, thanks to the gum-ball-like
pills he ingests, which ultimately keep him in human form.
When his ship crashes nearby the house of a pathetic journalist
named Tim (Jeff Daniels), he pretends to be 'Uncle Martin,'
so that, while rebuilding his ship, no humans around him
(except Tim) will know that he's actually an alien.
the weak plot splits into numerous little catty-wompus subplots
that merely suggest an opportunity to waste time on screen.
The list of them includes one involving the discovery of
Martin's background by a news reporter, one discussing a
relationship between Tim and a woman he admires (Daryl Hannah),
and, of course, one involving Martin's numerous capabilities,
including a gross tongue split into sections at the tip
and a living costume that looks like it should belong in
"Lost In Space." The special effects start promising (the
opening scene involving a skyline on Mars is a dazzling
spectacle), but after awhile, they progress into a series
of intolerable scenes that assault the senses in every way
they know how. One of the stupidest plot situations/special
effects scenes involves a car chase with police, in which
Martin shrinks the vehicle into the size of a purse so that
they could get away quickly. The shots taking place from
within the car, where the views through windows show feet
scattering towards them, are stupid and ugly to stare at,
and often quite obviously put together.
movie was directed unfaithfully by Donald Petrie, whose
past credits include two very funny films, "Richie Rich"
and "Grumpy Old Men." "Richie Rich" was, too, a remake,
but at least in that case scenario, the director had a little
fun with the concept. Scott Renshaw, one of the best film
critics of our time, recently printed his review of "My
Favorite Martian" that included an opening paragraph with
numerous references in Disney live-action movies: the references
of getting your genitalia caught in the zipper, of losing
your virginity, and of speaking about breasts, balls and
butts, just to name a few. Ponder for a moment about those
observations, and try to picture what recent live-action
Disney movie they belong to. You could find obvious places
for all of them. Now ask yourself if you want your entire
family to sit down and see these things together. Is that
this a fair warning.
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
Please e-mail the author here
if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.