It's Alien to Me
Being British and born at the start of the 70s sometimes has its advantages, not often but just sometimes. One of those times is when it comes to 1999 alien comedy "My Favorite Martian" because I had never heard of or seen the 60s TV show on which it is a big screen remake of and so had no cherished memories which could be destroyed. And it means that whilst "My Favorite Martian" is little more than routine with a long list of simple gags it did end up fun on the simplest of levels, although I am sure that is not the same for those who remember the 60s series and end up weeping at what they have done in updating it.
News producer Tim O'Hara (Jeff Daniels - 101 Dalmatians) is not having a good time of it, he has accidentally made reporter and girl of his dreams Brace Channing (Elizabeth Hurley) look like a fool on TV and her father, his boss, sacks him. But that is nothing compared to when he witnesses a spaceship come crashing down to earth and the next thing he knows is that he is sharing his home with an alien who takes on a human form and calls himself Uncle Martin (Christopher Lloyd - Addams Family Values). Whilst Tim's instincts make him think what a great storyline he finds himself becoming friends with Martin who needs to fix his spaceship so that he can return home, and Tim can't bring himself to reveal who Martin is. Though that doesn't stop Brace who spots the great story and steals Tim's hidden footage of Martin in his alien form.
Now I don't know how true "My Favorite Martian" is to the 60s TV series, I hope it is faithful, but it is also quite routine. After a fun opening on Mars where a research vehicle runs out of power just before discovering an Alien civilization we get this story of an Alien coming to earth and befriending Tim O'Hara. What follows is all quite obvious as Tim is initially freaked by this Alien who calls himself Uncle Martin and we get the fish out of water antics of Uncle Martin as life on Earth is alien to him. Of course you can guess they will end up becoming friends by the time we the movie ends and there has been plenty of chaos.
That is not all there is and we have some drama from eager and quite dumb reporter Brace Channing discovering that Uncle Martin is an Alien, a romantic subplot between Tim and camera woman Lizzie, of course there are secret agents who become aware of an alien landing on Earth plus there is the drama of Uncle Martin having to fix his spaceship before it blows up. None of which is brilliant but it does mean that for its 94 minute running time "My Favorite Martian" never lacks story.
But whilst we have all this surprisingly full storyline going on "My Favorite Martian" is really only about the comedy of an alien on earth. And as such we get a lot of routine humour from Uncle Martin and Tim scaring each other when they meet to Uncle Martin experiencing an ice cream high. Throw in plenty of foolish humour and some body function gags and whilst fun it is all so quite unimaginative. Don't get me wrong as it's not that the humour is terrible, heck it brought a smile to my face when Uncle Martin and Tim end up in a toilet having shrunk down but the butt joke which followed was not exactly imaginative.
And to be honest that is really all there is to "My Favorite Martian" because whilst it stars Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Daniels, Daryl Hannah and Elizabeth Hurley none of the performances are anything to write home about. In fact whilst they are all enjoyable they are also all forgettable even Christopher Lloyd who seems to have been cast so that he can deliver the technical mumbo-jumbo of fixing his spaceship in a similar style to how he played Doc. Brown in the "Back to the Future" movies.
What this all boils down to is that "My Favorite Martian" whilst a fun 90s alien comedy is also uninspiring and forgettable. For those like me who have never seen the original 60s TV series will find it fun in an average way but I would imagine those who grew up on the show will be disappointed with this update.