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Martian Child
DVD disk
Feb 12, 2008 By: Jason Adams
Martian Child order
Director:
Menno Meyjes

Actors:
John Cusack
Amanda Peet
Joan Cusack

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A widowed science fiction writer adopts an introverted young boy who thinks hes from Mars.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
As a lifelong Lloyd Dobler idolizer, Ill watch anything with John Cusack in it. And for the most part the man always makes whatever hes in worthwhile, MARTIAN CHILD included.

Its pretty much the same as any overly-sentimental movie involving an adult, a child, and valuable lessons learned; however, Cusack has the chops to pull it off. The role of David Gordon doesnt exactly stretch the mans acting abilities, but his interaction with the titular kid feels almost effortless, be it the funny misunderstandings, serious moments or the couple geeky spots. Not many people could make an ultra-sappy tearjerker drama and still come off as cool as Cusack does.

A decent supporting cast is there to help Cusack pass the time. Amanda Peet never ceases being cute and endearing, but the forced romantic subplot feels superficial and justnot right. Thankfully, and understandably, John has better chemistry with his sister Joan. Their killer banter in GROSSE POINT BLANK still remains their collaborative pinnacle, but Ill gladly take the few minutes of snarky arguing they share here. Oliver Platt also shows up as Oliver Platt Signature Performance #3. If youre behind on your Platt, thats the one where he plays the smooth talking, money-hungry asskisser. I should also mention Bobby Coleman, who does a fine job as the potential alien offspring and maintains a good balance of creepy and cute (although the character can get a little grating at times with his weirdness).

Its hard to critique MARTIAN CHILD on anything besides its cast, since theyre really the only interchangeable part in a fairly standard formula movie. Still, its a decent uplifting family film (pretty much devoid of cursing or other morally objectionable material), one thats so sappy it pretty much guilts you in to at least mildly liking it.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary by writer producers David Kirshner and Corey Sienega and writers Jon Tolins and Seth Bass: Not to sound like an ass, as the four here seem nice and more than willing to talk, but the lack of any stars or the director made it hard for me to really care about this.

Deleted Scenes (27:15): All fourteen clips are pretty much forgettable, save for one instance of the kid seriously cockblocking Cusack.

Handle With Care (24:20): A pretty detailed feature on child actor Bobby Coleman and his process of working on the movie from audition through filming. Its always nice to see kid actors enjoying themselves before the inevitable teenage years of drugs, alcohol and debauchery.

The Real Martian Child (13:23): The movie was based on a short story by David Gerrold, which in turn was based on his own experiences adopting and raising a boy as a single father. Here Gerrold and son speak about the events that inspired the film, which adds another dimension to the story.

Trailers and Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
A charming John Cusack and a cute kidyou know exactly what to expect with MARTIAN CHILD and youll get it pretty much note for note. Thats not entirely a bad thing if its what youre looking for.

Extra Tidbit: David Gerrold, who penned the original MARTIAN CHILD short story, is also the writer of the classic Star Trek episode, The Trouble With Tribbles.
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