Martian Child

Director
Menno Meyjes
Runtime
1 h 46 min
Release Date
2 November 2007
Genres
Drama
Overview
A recently-widowed, science fiction writer considers whether to adopt a hyper-imaginative 6-year-old abandoned and socially-rejected boy who says he's really from Mars.
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Kyle Smith2
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Review: "Bee Movie," "Martian Child," "Darfur Now"
    Kyle Smith review of “Bee Movie” 3 stars out of 4 Running time: 100 minutes. Rated PG (mild suggestive humor). “Bee Movie” takes us on a colorful journey populated with strangely funny little creatures ill adapted for life outside their insular colony – the Upper West Side. Jerry Seinfeld – a guy who retired to muse about cereal and Superman on his own time after God called him to ask for a loan – has been away for far too long, and his foray into kiddie animation is honeycombed with gags that carry that crucial Seinfeldian wit. The story is a bit obvious compared with the best “Seinfeld” episodes, and the jokes derive more from stand-up riffs (“Why do girls put rings on their toes? It’s like putting a hat on your knee”) than character, but “Bee Movie” is dazzling fun. Jerry is master of a new domain. Barry B. Benson (voiced by Seinfeld) is about to graduate and become a corporation man in the honey business run by Honex, which hasn’t given a bee a day off in 27 million years. Fortunately for him, when he completed three days of high school and three days of college, he took a day off just to hitchhike around the hive. He’s not sure what job he wants – his nerdy friend Adam (Matthew Broderick), who seems to have walked in off the set of “How To Succeed in a Bee Colony Without Really Trying,” suggests something safe – but to impress girls Barry signs up with the “Pollen Jocks,” the chesty heroes who fly swatter-defying air raids into the outside world to bring back nectar. Their commander (a hilarious Rip Torn) stands by yelling, “You guys did great! You’re monsters, you’re sky freaks!” The scenes inside the hive – like Six Flags in Jell-O, with everything blobby and bright – are terrifically inventive in design, though when the bees go outside (they’re in Central Park, naturally, where they could visit the casts of “Antz” and “Madagascar”) the rest of the movie is visually pretty familiar. Barry B. befriends an Upper West Side florist (Renée Zellweger) who saves his life from the murderous efforts of her bee-allergic lug of a boyfriend (David Puddy, er, Patrick Warburton). In a grocery store, a clerk tries to swat Barry with some rolled-up newspaper, but he shrugs it off because it’s only a 10-page circular. What every bee dreads is a rolled-up Italian Vogue. The store sells honey, which Barry is shocked to learn is being stolen from the bees, so he sues the honey manufacturers (Honron, Honeyburton) to get back the sticky gold. Though there is a cheerful tone to most of the movie, especially the scenes in the hive – part of what made Seinfeld is his childlike wonder – there is a waspish element to the humor. Chris Rock, unlike Eddie Murphy’s Donkey, ventures into making fun of blacks, doing a dialed-up Redd Foxx delivery. He’s a mosquito who complains that his species is the lowest, so mosquito women want to trade up and date moths. Some of the nastiest and best jokes are directed, randomly but not undeservedly, at Ray Liotta. And your kids may ask, “Daddy, why did the bee say Larry King is ‘very Jewish’?” The “Simpsons”-style rapid-fire allusions – there’s also a brilliant bit featuring Sting (who, like Liotta, does his character’s voice) and a cameo by Winnie the Pooh – are built to be funny today, not to compete with Disney’s timeless stories. But the sophistication (no poop jokes as in “Shrek the Third”) means adults will barely be able to take in all the wit on one viewing, while kids will miss a lot of it but happily soak up the atmosphere and the stuff about how the little guy can beat the system. Problem: Not only are the bees anthropomorphized, so are all of the other insects. Your kids will never let you stomp a waterbug again. Be prepared to show them “Arachnophobia.” ————- Kyle Smith review of “Martian Child” 2.5 stars out of 4 Running time: 108 minutes. Rated PG (mildly disturbing situations) Once John Cusack was MTV; now he’s CBS. Still, a guy’s gotta make a living, and your arms are bound to get tired if you try to hold a boombox over your head forever. In a sweet father-son heart-warmer called “Martian Child” – which works the tear ducts as expertly as an Irish barman dispensing Guinness – Cusack shows that he can still play the sensitive-but-fun guy until the ladies sigh and the men take notes. He plays David, a rich sci-fi novelist who decides to adopt a boy after his wife dies. Joan Cusack – who by now can safely be named the world’s foremost portrayer of John Cusack’s big sister – and platonic best friend Amanda Peet give gently humorous advice. Says Sis, a mother of two swarming little males: “They’re like mosquitoes, sucking the life out of you.” David, having once been a tiny weirdo with a rich fantasy life, picks an abused little boy (played by Bobby Coleman) from the orphanage. Said boy prefers to stay hidden in a box all day. His reason? He says he’s from Mars, and fears the damaging solar rays on what he calls “your planet.” David lures him out with some SPF 45, a pair of sunglasses and an umbrella, at which point the kid begins to stroll, or perhaps mince, around the planet in his Kabuki whiteface, under his parasol. “He’s like a little Andy Warhol,” says the Peet character. The boy also wears an improvised weight belt to keep him from floating away in our weak Earth gravity. It seems he was once cut loose – by another family. “You’re just a freaky little dude,” says David, but his friend shrugs off the boy’s behavior: She was obsessed with the Von Trapp family as a girl. “But did you go to school in lederhosen?” asks David. “Yes. I did,” she replies. In addition to speaking fluent Martian, the kid does little tricks. He can guess the color of an M&M without looking, and when he says a baseball player will hit a home run, he does. Could he be a real Martian? (And what does he mean when he keeps saying “they” are going to come back to get him some day?) The movie, based on a sci-fi story by the author of the “Trouble With Tribbles” episode of “Star Trek,” has enough wit and unpredictability to hold your attention until it fades away with an “Is that all?” ending. Still, for little kids and moms, it’s a diverting visit to Planet Cute. ——— Kyle Smith review of “Darfur Now” 2 stars out of 4 99 minutes. Rated PG (descriptions of violence). The documentary “Darfur Now” proves that – no matter how important the subject matter – following various people around with a camera doesn’t necessarily make a film. Director Ted Braun begins with a brief summary of the horror in Darfur, Sudan, then tracks the efforts of six people to stop it. They range from a sheikh in a refugee camp to a mother of a murdered son who joins a guerrilla group; from a prosecutor determined to bring war-crimes indictments to the Hague to a 24-year-old waiter who becomes an activist as he promotes a divestment bill in California to actor Don Cheadle. All of these people share a concern for the plight of the massacred and the displaced, but not much happens until the very end – when Arnold Schwarzenegger signs a bill authorizing the divestment. George Clooney pops up for a few minutes to help Cheadle try to pressure China and Egypt – without success. The Hague prosecutor charges two Sudanese with war crimes, but the charge is only on paper, since he lacks the authority to arrest them. Meanwhile, we witness aid missions in Darfur and watch the rebels train with assault rifles. At one point they open fire, but it’s not clear whether they’re in a battle or merely practicing. Everyone involved keeps saying that aiding Darfur is complicated. No doubt, but their frustration isn’t very compelling to watch.]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • John Cusack Suing Production Company
    (”Martian Child” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    JC himself wants $4.5 million from a movie production company that failed to build a production around him. Shouldn’t he be suing the audience for failing to show up at his movies? (The last two, “Grace Is Gone” and “War Inc.” have delivered a combined box office of just over $500,000. As for “Martian Child,” maybe it made up its heavy domestic losses in some other galaxy.) I love that when Le Cusack travels, he apparently needs $50,000 to pay the costs of his staff. How many butlers does the guy need to carry his moisturizer? He’s certainly a man of the people in his blog posts, though. ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

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