MY FAVORITE MARTIAN
This film version of My Favorite Martian joined a host of other big screen adaptations of 1960s and 1970s tv shows that came out in the 1990s-2000s. Others included the likes of The Addams Family (1991), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994), The Flintstones (1994), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), Maverick (1996), Mission: Impossible (1996), The Saint (1997), The Avengers (1998), Lost in Space (1998), Dudley Do-Right (1999), The Mod Squad (1999), Wild Wild West (1999), Charlies Angels (2000), I Spy (2002), Scooby-Doo (2002), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Thunderbirds (2004), Bewitched (2005), The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), The Honeymooners (2005), Miami Vice (2006), Transformers (2007), Get Smart (2008), Speed Racer (2008), Land of the Lost (2009), Star Trek (2009), The A-Team (2010), Yogi Bear (2010), The Smurfs (2011), Dark Shadows (2012), The Sweeney (2012), 21 Jump Street (2012), The Equalizer (2014), Jem and the Holograms (2015), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Dads Army (2016), Baywatch (2017) and CHiPs (2017). Alas, My Favorite Martian feels not as though it were being mounted by fans of the original which was hardly a cult item but by a group of people strip-mining pop culture in search of a product that came with a built-in merchandising crowd. As with almost all of the abovementioned films, My Favorite Martian seems but a pale shadow of the original.
My Favorite Martian has only been slung together as a series of gags centred around the basic theme of a wacky alien visitor come to stay. The original series was never much more than that either but the film inflates the amiable structure of a half-hour sitcom with a great deal of slapstick and cheap CGI gags. There is a cute opening gag with a Martian Lander coming to the edge of a rock and reporting seeing nothing back to Ground Control, only for the camera to pan up and over the rock to show a Martian city buzzing with life beyond. Alas the best gag comes before the film even starts.
The single most annoying part about the film is The Suit. In this regard, the film reminds of Disneys then-recent Flubber (1997), which bumped the basics of The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) up with cutsie robots and CGI morphing flubber. Now we have the addition of an annoyingly cutsie morphing spacesuit. While Christopher Lloyds Uncle Martin demonstrates a complete innocences view of Earth culture, The Suit contrarily drops pop culture reference and in-jokes like they were going out of fashion colloquial gags about Tiger Woods, Jimmy Hoffa, Elvis, Arnold and Jean-Claude and The Spice Girls. Not to mention witless slapstick sequences with it dancing and wiggling its butt and developing a case of lust for a swimsuit. The only tone throughout the film is that of manic slapstick. The dubious highlights are scenes with Jeff Daniels trying to hide Christopher Lloyds detachable limbs under sofa cushions and a sequence with a miniaturized car racing down through the sewers pursued by a Roto-Rooter and emerging out of a toilet bowl. The CGI effects look disappointingly cut-rate and cheap. Christopher Lloyd plays to the gallery with the eye-rolling that has become his trademark, while Elizabeth Hurley overacts badly.
Director Donald Petrie is best known for Chick Flicks and romcoms like Miss Congeniality (2000), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) and My Life in Ruins (2009). Petries other genre efforts are the comic-book adaptation Richie Rich (1994) and the incredibly unfunny Lindsay Lohan teen comedy Just My Luck (2006).