EVOLUTION, by director Ivan Reitman (GHOSTBUSTERS), is a silly sci-fi
flick that's a fun blend of your favorites including JURASSIC PARK, MARS
ATTACKS and GALAXY QUEST. Although it starts slow, once it gets in gear
the laughs start to fly.
It all starts when a meteorite strikes the earth and unleashes a rapidly
evolving alien race. From single cell organisms, they quickly change
into world-class menaces.
The two-person scientific team initially investigating the big incident
comes from the local community college. Ira Kane (David Duchovny, "The
huge botched experiment on humans. His doofus assistant is fellow
instructor Harry Block (Orlando Jones, THE REPLACEMENTS), who coaches
the girl's volleyball team when he isn't teaching science. Harry's main
concern is about the payout schedule and tax implications of a Nobel
This rag-tag team of subpar scientists is aided by Wayne Green (Seann
William Scott, ROAD TRIP), a pool boy who'd like to be a fireman. His
qualifications, other than almost getting smushed by the rock from
space, are that he "took some chemistry in high school." Later they are
joined by Allison Reed (Julianne Moore, HANNIBAL), a klutzy researcher
from the CDC, who can't walk without falling.
The science behind the story has equal measure of fascinating
imagination and needlessly troublesome logical holes. As the aliens
evolve, Phil Tippett's models are a mixture of the creative and the
mundane as if the production were hurried. A typical "monster" is a
cute little baby Jabba the Hutt that turns out to have an ALIEN-like
creature in its throat. The film, which is rated PG-13, will make you
jump more than once. Don't even think about bringing kids of any age
that are easily frightened.
The comedy, both physical and verbal, is a real treat, but the actors'
ability to pull it off varies widely. Orlando Jones and Seann William
Scott are definitely the best. Jones has great fun chewing up the
scenery, and Scott never played dumb better. Duchovny's performance is
uneven, and Moore seems miscast.
In a picture that pulls no comedic punches, it is one of the few so
brazen as to have not only a major product placement but an outright
commercial as well. But, never fear, it's all in the service of the
comedy and turns out to be quite funny. I'm sure that the placement
fees had no influence whatsoever.
EVOLUTION runs 1:42. It is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, and
for sci-fi action and would be acceptable for not easily frightened kids
10 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, found the film quite funny and gave it *** 1/2.
With a scientist mind, he had complaints about a logical gap in the
evolution progression that troubled him. His friend Sam, also 12, gave
the movie a full ****, saying that it was very clever and funny. He had
similar concerns to Jeffrey's about some of the science.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes