Monday, January 15, 2007

Movie Review: My Favorite Martian 2 Stars

My Favorite Martian, for those of who aren’t old enough to remember or have never seen a television, was a beloved ‘60s TV sitcom starring Bill Bixby as Tim O’Hara, a mild-mannered earthling and Ray Walston as a Martian stranded on our planet. Walston’s characater poses as Tim’s Uncle Martin to escape detection.

Disney’s My Favorite Martian, for those of you unfortunate enough to see this travesty, is a shameless updating of the beloved television show. It stars Jeff Daniels as Tim O’Hara and Christopher Lloyd as the Martian, okee-dokeeing his way through this unfunny, uninteresting movie.

Scribes Sherri Stoner and Deanna Oliver peppered their threadbare script with bits that pass as the most fundamental definition of “joke.” Special effects are used indiscriminately as smoke-and-mirrors for any real action or character development. The worst offender of all is Zoot, a walking-talking-singing-dancing CGI spacesuit, voiced by Wayne Knight, that somehow, regardless of his Martian origin, has an uncanny frame of reference for American pop-culture. His “jokes” consist of referencing Van Damme and puns about fabric softener.

Smoking, drinking and insinuations of (adult) molestation are subjects for humor in this “kid’s movie.” Not that I mind that so much as I mind that the smoking, drinking and molestation gags were so utterly unsophisticated. Surprisingly, the same team was responsible for the clever, sweet, effects-laden, Casper.

The talented cast of this debacle, Daniels, Lloyd, Liz Hurley, Darryl Hannah, Christine Ebersole, Wallace Shawn and, gulp, Ray Walston, were utterly wasted. As a matter of fact, Ray Walston was the only thing worth watching in My Favorite Martian. He carried himself with an air of dignity that unfortunately didn’t rub off on anything else in the movie.

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