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Laramie Movie Scope:

A low-rent version of "Men in Black"

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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June 12, 2001 -- "Evolution" is a tongue-in-cheek, dumbed-down version of "Men in Black" from the director of "Ghostbusters." However, director Ivan Reitman sort of let this project go out of control. The writing and acting also falls short of "Ghostbusters" and "Men in Black." It is a funny film, however.

David Duchovny of "The X-Files" stars as Ira Kane, a community college biology professor with a secret government past, assisted by fellow professor Harry Block (Orlando Jones of "Magnolia"), who wants to get out of his dead-end job. The two men stumble across a rapidly-evolving life form from outer space oozing from a meteorite. They both dream of becoming rich and famous because of the find.

Of course, word leaks out and the discovery is taken over by the government. The two lose all their research materials and are locked out of the meteorite crash site. Undeterred, the two sneak back into the site to get more samples. It turns out the site is not as "contained" as the feds think it is. Strange creatures, including flying dragons, attack the neighboring town.

The special effects are good, but the rest of the movie has an amateurish look to it, sort of like a very expensive home movie. It is pretty obvious that Duchovny and company are having a lot of fun making this film. This careless fun-loving attitude is contagious. Nobody takes themselves seriously in the film and that makes it fun to watch. There are also some X-Files in-jokes. When Duchovny says knowingly "you can't trust the government," it is an obvious, and funny reference to the hit TV show's endless government conspiracy theories. The stone-faced Duchovny is hardly a gifted actor, but he does have a knack for irreverent comedy and self-depreciation. Typical of Duchovny's humor is an ad-libed moon shot. He reportedly insisted it was the only proper way to end that particular scene. He may have been right.

Orlando Jones is a better comic actor and he does well as a reluctant hero. Julianne Moore of "Hannibal" is effective as CDC doctor Allison Reed. She doesn't quite work as the romantic stand-in for Scully, however. Seann William Scott of "Dude, Where's My Car" is perfect as the wacky would-be fireman, Wayne Green. His opening scene mannequin rescue is one of the funniest things in the movie. Dan Aykroyd, one of the co-writers of "Ghostbusters," plays the governor with his usual comic style. This film rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2001 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)