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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Evolution

Starring: David Duchovny, Orlando Jones
Director: Ivan Reitman
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 104 Minutes
Release Date: June 2001
Genres: Comedy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Ted Levine, Wayne Duvall, Katharine Towne, Julianne Moore, Seann W. Scott, Sarah Silverman, Dan Aykroyd, Sarah Silverman, Ethan Suplee

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie review
3.  Edward Johnson-Ott read the review movie reviewvideo review
4.  Susan Granger read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

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 Prize.

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

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