Evolution (2001) / Comedy-Sci Fi

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, and for sci-fi action
Running Time: 101 min.

Cast: David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Julianne Moore, Seann William Scott
Director: Ivan Reitman
Screenplay:
David Diamond, David Weissman, Don Jakoby
Review published June 10, 2001

Remember the zany fun that was GHOSTBUSTERS way back in 1984?  Director Ivan Reitman decides that if anyone is going to do a rip-off of the style of that film, he might as well beat everyone to the punch and do it himself.  It's Reitman's second failed attempt to recreate the magic of that classic spook-comedy (GHOSTBUSTERS II being the first), and it goes to show how difficult comedy can be when you can pull together a likeable cast and pump a ton of money in jaw-dropping special effects, yet only come away with a film that's only mildly amusing at best.  

Dr. Ira Kane (Duchovny) and Dr. Harry Block (Jones) investigate the site of a meteor crash and discover a strange single-celled life-form that inhabits the object.  Kane takes it back to the lab for investigation and is astonished to learn that it has quickly been changing into a complex multi-cellular life form by the minute. Smelling a Nobel prize, the duo make an attempt to wrest the ownership of the discovery back from the hands of the government, and all involved have their hands full in trying to contain the strange creatures that have begun evolving from the chaotic crash site.

While not totally devoid of entertainment, EVOLUTION just can never seem to hit a stride at any point during the film.  The cast, while individually appealing, don't have very interesting chemistry amongst each other, and Reitman can't seem to recreat the spontaneous fun of his previous works from a group of actors that have little experience in improvisational comedy.  We are treated to some impressive but unappealing special effects, some story points that probably read funnier on paper than on-screen, and a plotline that follows a typical path all the way to the end.  Hopefully after this last attempt, Reitman will realize that movie magic can only be created with genuine inspiration and not by forced recreations of what seemed to work before.  While this film may have evolved from the original GHOSTBUSTERS, it proves that just because something is newer and different, it doesn't necessarily make it better.

Qwipster's rating:

2001 Vince Leo