Australian Reviews and Articles

Classification: PG
Director: Ivan Reitman
Cast: David Duchovny, Dan Aykroyd, Julianne Moore, Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott

A comedy which follows the chaos that ensues when a meteor hits the Earth carrying alien life forms that give new meaning to the term "survival of the fittest."

The problem with Evolution is that, as a comedy, it's not nearly evolved enough. In some pre-historic point in its development, the script went from being an action drama to a comedy. One can only speculate what a wild and exciting ride it might have been if they remained true to the original vision. Instead, it feels clumsy and contrived and never really reconciles its slapstick with its sci-fi.

Reitman is clearly hoping to make an extra-terrestrial Ghostbusters with this tale of an asteroid plummeting to earth carrying with it genetic material that grows at an accelerated rate in our atmosphere. But Ghostbusters worked because of a strong cast that had a profound rapport from years of working together and because the special effects were subservient yet never secondary to the story.

Part of the problem is that neither David Duchovny nor Julianne Moore has cut their comedic chops sufficiently to carry off their core roles. This is quite surprising. Duchovny, for one, has invested The X-Files with much-needed amusement and seems almost unconsciously dry and laconic in both person and performance. He appears entirely misdirected here, playing far more broadly than either he can manage or he should be required to do. Consequently, his sardonic presence seems smug and he appears to be snickering to himself when the cardinal rule of comedy is that you play it straight and not let the audience think you are in on the joke you are telling.

On the other hand, Julianne Moore, who has previously given the impression that nothing is beyond her grasp, here seems totally at sea in a role that insults her abilities by casting her alternately as sex object and fall guy. She spends much of the film on her butt, herself the butt of a bad joke, tripping over the set because the writers couldn't think of anything else to have her do. This leaves Orlando Jones to degrade his talents by playing the role that should have gone out with Abbott and Costello and to find Seann William Scott once again typecast as a "hey dude" goofball off on another excellent adventure.

The only time the film seems to advance up the evolutionary ladder is when the creatures start appearing, like mutated escapees from Jurassic Park. But these sequences seem to be from another film and by the end of the movie, you'll be wishing you were watching another one yourself. Without wanting to divulge the climax, we have two words for you: "shampoo enema". You have been warned.

By Kerry Bashford, ninemsn.com

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