Thursday, November 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

‘Number Four’ lands on Earth and falls in love

About the movie
I Am Number Four
Genre:
Action, Adventure; SciFi, Fantasy; Suspense, Thriller
MPAA rating:
PG-13
for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief language
Running time:
01:44
Release date:
2011
Rating:
Cast:
Kevin Durand; Timothy Olyphant; Alex Pettyfer; Teresa Palmer; Dianna Agron; Callan McAuliffe
Directed by:
D.J. Caruso

I can't tell you how relieved I was to discover that "I Am Number Four" is not about Brett Favre.

When is that antiquated QB and digital exhibitionist going to go away?

And what is ESPN's ongoing fascination with the guy? Really, it's like the network is run by teen girls, and Favre is Justin Bieber. Green Bay has moved on. It's time for SportsCenter to do the same.

So who, then, is number four of "Number Four?"

A little bit of everything, as it turns out. Part E.T., part Clark Kent, part Edward Cullen - a superpowered humanoid alien deposited here on earth, trying to fit in at his local high school, where he falls for a classmate, and at one point saves her life by stopping an oncoming car with his supernatural strength.

You probably remember this scene from "Twilight," one of many sources for director D.J. Caruso, who borrows in a way that is shameless but also efficient. Caruso is the guy who rebooted "Rear Window" and turned it into a product that could be effectively marketed to teens as "Disturbia."

Caruso (see also "Eagle Eye") makes movies that are cheerfully unoriginal and empty of calories, but propulsive, and "Four" is in that vein.

Alex Pettyfer stars as John, a teen alien coming to grips with new powers and the realization that he's hunted. The punk monsters that eradicated his home planet are seeking him here on Earth.

Gosh, what a time to fall in love!

He has a protector (Timothy Olyphant) who wants him to go into hiding, but John has just gone gaga over a girl at school (Dianna Agron), and refuses to leave. And when aliens like John fall in love (big Stephenie Meyer sigh), it's for life.

Caruso takes a long time to set this up, but when he finally gets the action wheel turning, "Number Four" (adapted from the Pitticus Lore novel) moves along with decent B-movie energy, with a big third-act assist from Theresa Palmer as another alien visitor, whose skill set includes martial arts, super speed, and being awesome looking.

The whole thing is set up for a sequel/series, though I'm not sure it has the chops, and apparently neither does the studio, which is releasing it in the misfit-toy month of February.

Gary Thompson Daily News Film Critic
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