Australian Reviews and Articles
He may have handed in his FBI badge on The X-Files but David Duchovny is still chasing aliens in his new film, Evolution. By Darren Lovell
Who Weekly July 9, 2001 - No. 488
After a tough day fighting aliens on the set of The X-Files, star David Duchovny retired to his trailer, kicked off his shoes and turned on his lava lamp. Then he noticed the shoes. Or more correctly, the footwear he wore playing FBI Agent Fox Mulder. They were worn, really worn. Indeed more scuffed than his own. "I was," decides Duchovny two years later, "Mulder more than I was me."
Not anymore! The thinking woman's sex symbol has turned in his badge, left his hit TV series (his last episode aired in Australia on June 28) and after nine years of chasing monsters and aliens, embarked on a fulltime movie career. And in his first film since X-Files he gets to err... chase aliens?
Evolution (out July 12) is a sci-fi send-up about a team of hapless scientists-led my Duchovny-who must save the world from a band of ETs. Pretty standard fare for the 39-year-old actor who insists: "I just wanted to do a comedy."
Granting his wish was director Ivan Reitman, who saw something in the usually straight-laced Duchovny that millions of Mulder admirers didn't: "The guy is funny."
Indeed, left to his own devices, Duchovny proved funnier than Reitman had hoped. Improvising one scene, Duchovny as disgraced former government scientist Dr Ira Kane, after a clash with rival scientist Allison (Julianne Moore) bares his backside to her. The revealing action wasn't in the script. Remembers Reitman: "It was the third take and I am watching and suddenly David is taking his pants off and he mooned her!" Dropping his pants, declares Duchovny, was "an effective ending to the scene."
"I was really desperate to do something I haven't done before," he says of the role, adding it was the same mood he was feeling when he first meet his wife, actress Tea Leoni, 35, during an interview for a US talk show in 1997.
Smitten by the Deep Impact star, the two began dating in February that year and married three months later. "I spent most of my 20s and early 30s thinking that staying in the same realtionship for too long was death," he admits. Accepting that it wasn't was liberating but being a husband is still a challenge: "It's hard, making the old things work whilst trying something new."
Testing too is fatherhood. On April 24, 1999 the picturesque couple welcomed into their Malibu beachside home daughter Madelaine "West" Duchovny.
"He loves fatherhood," says Leoni. Not enough however to consider it a full time job. With Leoni's career on a steep incline - she will soon star in the anticipated dinosaur flick Jurrasic Park 3 - Duchovny does not like being left holding the baby for too long. "I've gotta be the one working," he states.
Still, says Leoni, who watches her daughter chat to her dad over the phone with wonder, "they are going to have a great relationship." Duchovny's own father Arman walked out on him, his mother Margeret and siblings Danny, a director of photography, and sister Laurie, when the baseball loving Duchovny was just 11.
Broken hearted and growing up in a rough area of Manhattan, fear of not amounting to anything drove him to bury his nose in books. Studying English Literature at the prestigious Yale University, the Ivy leaguer, desperate for tuition fees found himself an agent and work in television commercials. A love of acting was ignited and soon playing a character was more fun than reading about one.
Despite protests from his school teacher mum, he headed to Hollywood. There his trade mark smouldering sexuality won him roles in TV's Twin Peaks and opposite Brad Pitt in Kalifornia before his signed on to do the The X-Files, which he presumed would not last a season. How wrong he was and now Duchovny must contend with fans - thousands of whom lined up for hours to catch a glimpse of their favourite dark-suited agent when he attend the Sydney premier of Evolution in June - wanting more of Mulder, something Duchovny won't rule out - "I think we should do another movie but not until the show is off the air," he reveals. "It's my feeling that you should actually give the audience a chance to miss the show - and give me a chance to miss the show!"
Jenny Cooney in Los Angeles.
When a meteorite crash-lands on earth it unleashes an organism that evolves faster than mould on cheese. The organism quickly turns into a variety of quirky aliens that spread out all over town … the only thing stopping them is their inability to breathe in the earth's atmosphere. But it's only a matter of time before they evolve. Coming to the rescue are two community college teachers (David Duchovny and Orlando Jones), fireman wannabe (Sean William Scott) and a government scientist (Julianne Moore). We truly are in trouble.
The major complaint with this ’80s comedy with 21st-century special effects is that it just slumps along, much like the aliens do when they try to breathe in earth's air.
Originally a sci-fi thriller, this movie was given its comic touches by director Ivan Reitman, the man responsible for such lowbrow comedies as Road Trip, Ghostbusters and Animal House. And Ivan proves he still hasn't grown out of his college-boy humour. Unfortunately it's sprinkled too widely to keep the laughs coming. The jokes seem weighed down by the storyline, but that doesn't prevent a lot of butt gags from being crammed into film – if it isn't Duchovny's cheeks pressed against the windshield, it's an alien anal probe with a difference.
Even headlining actor David Duchovny confesses, 'It's not the kind of movie that I would rush out to see.' Which is probably due to his very ordinary performance – a surprise considering his comic timing with some X-Files episodes bordering on brilliant.
He's not alone in the dud acting stakes; Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore is living proof of the saying, 'Dying is easy, comedy is hard.' Her idea of comedy, by the way, is staged acts of clumsiness that are simply embarrassing and perhaps even damaging to her career. Perhaps she was taking notes on America's Funniest Home Videos? Who knows.
Supporting actors Orlando Jones and hot new talent Seann William Scott seem much better poised for this sort of comedy. However they, too, seem restricted by a poorly crafted script.
All is not lost, though. There are some truly great moments, thanks mainly to the film's real stars – the aliens. Duchovny's favourite alien is a real show-stealer – known as Cutie Pie, it looks like a small dog with big, weepy eyes and has one hell of a surprise up its sleeve.
So, if you loved Ghostbusters and would like to see some more splattering goo, amusing aliens and butt jokes galore, then this film is head and shoulders above the rest.
Article From Greater Union, May 31, 2001.
Any alien invasion movie with an advertising catchline that reads “Coming to wipe that silly smile off your planet” is sure to have the opposite effect on the face belonging to anyone watching it. Director, Ivan Reitman mixes a little of his own Ghostbusters with a touch of Men in Black and sees the funny side of planet Earth’s possible takeover by sources from beyond.
Reitman admits that, as a kid, he loved the ‘50s sci-fi classics such as It Came From Outer Space and War of the Worlds and has always wanted to bring his own take on the genre to the screen with laughs rather than chills. The conventional setting of many of those older films was the desert and, appropriately, Reitman carries on the tradition.
When a meteor crashes into the Arizona desert it contains alien life forms that have a startling rate of development, accelerating from single cell organisms to mammals and more, almost at the blink of an eye. The aliens are discovered by Ira Kane (David Duchovny), a former government scientist who has fallen from grace and now teaches at a college. Ira has been taken to the crash site by his friend and colleague, Harry Block (Orlando Jones), a geology professor who has been sent to investigate. But it is Ira who is first to understand the threat that the aliens’ rapid evolution means. When the government gets wind of the discovery, they send in epidemiologist, Allison Reed (Julianne Moore) who works for the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Brainy, business-like, but as clumsy as they come, Allison at first has little time for Ira. But, along with a sorry fireman called Wayne (Seann William Scott), Ira, Harry and Allison have to join forces to save the world. We could be in trouble.
Both David Duchovny and Julianne Moore have encountered their fair share of exceptional life forms, both alien and otherwise; he in The X Files and she in The Lost World. Here, visual effects supervisor, Phil Tippett, who worked on the Jurassic Park dinosaurs and the big bugs in Starship Troopers, comes up with some truly off-the-planet creations ranging from weird variations on spiders and dragonflies, to walking logs, a giant amoeba, a not-so-cute dog whose bark is definitely not worse than his bite, and numerous other “what the hell was that?” species. Can the alien intruders gain the upper tentacle or will the reluctant defenders of the planet come through and save us? Whatever the outcome may be, it will be laughs all the way.
Ghostbusters Director Ivan Reitman gives us his latest sci-fi comedy that takes the humour from ghosts to extraterrestrials in ‘Evolution’.
Two junior-colleague science teachers, Dr Ira Kane (David Duchovny) a biologist and Harry Block (Orlando Jones), a geology professor are just waiting for something amazing to happen in their lives … which unexpectedly does when a meteor crashes into the desert carrying microscopic alien life-forms.
Ira is the first to discover the alien stowaways aboard a piece of the meteor and the threat they pose to mankind when he observes that this out-of-space goo is evolving at the speed of light – from worms to birds in days.
When Arizona’s district Governor (Dan Aykroyd) realises that his sleepy desert is crawling with alien creatures, the army, led by smarmy General Woodman (Ted Levine) are called in to secure the area.
The laughs come when the two mis-matched best friends, Ira and Harry team up with the beautiful but clumsy Allison (Julianne Moore), an Epidemiologist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as together they try and save the planet from the alien domination.
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