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My Favorite Martian

Starring Jeff Daniels and Christopher Lloyd;
Written by Sherri Stoner & Deanna Oliver
Based on the TV series My Favorite Martian, created by John L. Greene and produced by Jack Chertok
Directed by Donald Petrie
Website: http://disney.go.com/DisneyPictures/martian/

IN SHORT: Ah, to be 6 now that I'm 40 . . .

When I was 6, I loved teevee's My Favorite Martian. I loved the antennae popping out of Ray Walston's head. I loved poor, normal guy Bill Bixby's desperate attempts to maintain a cover story and keep the truth from nosy neighbor Mrs. Brown. Of course, that was a long time ago. Now the property is a proprietary "Disney's My Favorite Martian" with a hackneyed script and corporate eye stridently fixed on the "f" word. . .

Franchise.

That's where the bucks are folks. Make a successful movie property and generate wads of cash through sequels, videos, merchandising, direct to video sequels and so forth. Which means that Disney's My Favorite Martian crams in everything the research department says will be big with a target audience, which means a lot of bathroom jokes and special effects. It all comes off like half baked a Farrelly Brothers flick and not nearly as much fun.

To be fair, writers Sherri Stoner & Deanna Oliver have tried to be fair to the original cast, with a very subtle (and clever) reference to the late Bill Bixby and a place for original Martian Ray Walston in the supporting cast. There are perhaps half a dozen jokes which will mean nothing to the kidlets, but everything to those of us who used to watch the old black and white TV every week. On that level, Disney's My Favorite Martian is satisfying but it isn't reason enough to head for the theater.

With the Millineium imminent, ex-Newspaper Reporter Tim O'Hara (Jeff Daniels) still drives a good old Corvair, circa 1963 or so, though he's got a new gig as producer of TV news filler spots featuring Brace Channing (Elizabeth Hurley), the boss' extremely attractive and equally ambitious daughter. That she can't write word one of her news reports, which Tim feeds to her line by line from the control van is totally irrelevant. She wears tight fitting dresses, busting out in all the right places to keep all the grown males in the audience, with kidlets in tow, happy. [In yet another bravura performance, Elizabeth Hurly demonstrates, again, that as an actress she is a great model.] Tim's got the hots for Brace but the true love interest is long suffering best friend and camera-person Lizzie (Daryl Hannah).

One night, in a scene reminiscent of CE3K Tim sees a flying saucer crash into a California beach. There's a huge gash in the sand, but only a child's toy spaceship to be found. So Tim keeps it, and finds his life forever changed by the shape changing Martian (Christopher Lloyd) and his sentient spacesuit, Zoot (voice of Wayne Knight). Government investigators descend on California, led by Dr. Eliot Coleye (Wallace Shawn) and an evil looking government bureaucrat named Armistan (Ray Walston).

"e. coli," folks. That's how you pronounce the doctor's name. That bacteria sends you to the crapper and that's where the humor of a size changing spacecraft and a horny spacesuit will eventually send the story. You've seen it in the trailer and advertisement. This movie is fit for five year olds, most of whom liked the flick when we sat through a sneak preview. None of whom walked out raving things like "awesome!"

To be honest, speaking as an adult, this movie is terrible. But I did talk to the kids and I do use my 6 year old nephew as a reference point. Disney's My Favorite Martian is a video, period. As a kidflick, Cranky doesn't give a dollar rating but he can safely predict that Disney's My Favorite Martian will easily replace another company's Three Ninjas: Mayhem at Mega Mountain as fave vid. What's that? You never heard of Three Ninjas: Mayhem at Mega Mountain? You won't remember Disney's My Favorite Martian, either.

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is  Copyright © 1995  -  2013 by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.