STARRING: Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Daniels, Elizabeth Hurley, Daryl Hannah, Wallace Shawn, Christine Ebersole, Michael Lerner, Ray Walston

1999, 93 Minutes, Directed by: Donald Petrie

Description: Adaptation of the popular '60s TV show of a friendly Martian who lives with an agreeable earthling. In this live-action remake by Disney, Jeff Daniels is the bemused earthling who gets to know Christopher Lloyd's alien ways.

To be honest, I am not really qualified to write a review of My Favorite Martian since I do not really fall within the movie's intended audience, namely those who can still remember the ancient TV sitcom on which it is based and anyone in the 8-12 year old age bracket.

Also, I really doubt whether the movie is actually aimed at anyone who can still recall the original series with nostalgic fondness. It is movie for kids - period. Sure, the movie sticks to the sitcom's premise, that of a manic Martian in disguise (Christopher Lloyd, "doc" in the Back to the Future movies) living with a straight-laced Earthling (Jeff Daniels of Disaster In Time).

All kinds of comic mayhem ensue in the process. Think Alf crossed with Third Rock From the Sun and you might get the idea. Analogies with sitcoms are apt in this movie's case since the humor in My Favorite Martian never really rises above that of your average American situation comedy - with sleek special effects, that is.

My Favorite Martian is loud brash slapstick that is energetically paced. Unlike more clever "kids' movies" like Mouse Hunt and Antz there are few asides to any adults in the audience. Will kids enjoy it? I think so - although I cannot be certain what movies kids enjoy nowadays after having seen some of them restless during a screening of The Phantom Menace.

Nowadays loud special effects bonanzas are the norm rather than the exception. So I can't guarantee whether My Favorite Martian will keep your little ones transfixed for its hour-and-half of running time, but I have a suspicion it probably will. Most of the bad reviews by U.S. critics I have read got it completely wrong: it isn't anywhere as bad as they made it out to be. Then again, they weren't the film's intended audience.

Personally I found it to be acceptable video fodder. Some moments in it are clever - like the truth behind the Martian Pathfinder probe mission and the eventual fate of Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia's ashes. If it had more moments like these I would have recommended that you watch it with your kids . . .



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