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Evolution

Director:Ivan Reitman
Writers:David Diamond, David Weissman, Don Jakoby
DreamWorks; PG-13; 103 minutes
Release:6/01
Cast:David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Julianne Moore

Evolution needs more creation. It's a sci-fi comedy starring David Duchovny (of X-Files fame) in which he plays a CIA biologist demoted to community college instruction in Arizona. He, along with partner Harry (Orlando Jones), discover a rapidly mutating alien life form and struggle throughout the film to keep the monstrous creatures at bay, often working at odds with the Feds and local government. Julianne Moore plays a cute and nerdy scientist sharing romantic tension with Duchovny's character; Scully to his Mulder. Don't get the description wrong, however: Evolution is more Ghostbusters than X-Files. Indeed, Ivan Reitman directed both the 1980 geeks versus slime film and this unfocused rip-off.

As Orlando Jones already demonstrated in Scary Movie, parody and pop-referentiality can reach a breaking point when reworked gags simply don't go off. The cast is game, however, so it's not unoriginality that bogs down Evolution. It shifts tone far too quickly to build up comic pace, plot momentum, or action movie zing. The real stars are the computer-animated creatures. They arrive (via meteor) as amoebic slime and quickly yield some lovely CGI weirdness that almost redeems the tripe surrounding them.


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