Evolution is nominally a sci-fi horror comedy that is neither scary nor funny. follows two college professors who discover an extra-terrestrial organism that has an accelerated rate of evolution.
It's directed by Ivan Reitman, who has not only fathered Jason Reitman, (Up in the Air, Juno, Thank You for Smoking), who, incidentally has a much better track record than his father, who's made Ghostbusters, and the lesser seen but just as critically praised Dave, and that's it. The catch is though that Ghostbusters is an incredible movie. It is one of the classics and deserves to be, it's incredibly sparky, and witty and the performances are incredible in a way this completely fails to live up to. I'm sorry, but David Duchovny, best known for The X-Files and Californication, Orlando Jones, best known for, well, nothing else, and frankly sounds more like a shit pirate of the Caribbean or a knock off superhero, do not Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver make. There are a few, alright jokes, the only jokes that's anywhere near as clever as half the jokes in Ghostbusters is literally the last shot of the film and by then, frankly I'd lost patience.
My friend told me that her brother had never watched this film sober, and I can believe it, but here's the thing, there are really good stoner/drunk movies. Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies, which we incidentally watched the same day, is an incredibly witty, sparky and funny comedy with genuine jokes that work above a level of fnar-fnar.
The film's saving grace is Julianne Moore, (The Big Lebowski, Children of Men, Still Alice), who I will watch in anything, and she is really good in this, a role that is frankly a bit demeaning, but she elevates it, I think. Although that might just be my goodwill towards Moore shining through. Whether or not she quite pull it off she is by far the best thing in the movie. Dan Akyroyd, (Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, Trading Places) of all people shows up, and this must have been after he just went completely mad because he's clearly trying to do that thing where you just have the time of your life eating scenery with chips on the side in a b movie, but, he's just completely flat, I mean he showed up and I thought 'my god finally someone who's funny and can add some kind of spark of life to this, for the most part wet fish of a movie' but no he's just flat and wet and boring and aweful and I with they'd got him to stay at home. Honestly if they'd gotten Dennis Leary in then at least they wouldn't have spoiled my opinion of him. I mean Dennis Leary does knock off army general in his sleep it's pretty much all he does in films like Small Soldiers.
I know, it may be unfair to keep comparing it to Ghostbusters but it's the difference between The Big Lebowski and Pineapple Express for stoner comedies, or even Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies and Pineapple Express. Ghostbusters is a sci-fi horror comedy that is both scary and funny. Evolution is neither, it has 2 funny scenes, 1 of which, as I've said, you have to wait for the end of the film to see, and honestly, the other one you can find on YouTube and it's just as funny if not funnier.
Fronted by Fox Mulder (a popular face and star at the time) and supported by Orlando Jones and Stiffler, the trio provide a good level of on screen chemistry.
Although used as criticism the SFX in this film are pretty good even by today's standards and were perfect showing off various Alien lifeforms.
The script although basic is easy enough even for your popcorn muncher to follow whilst they enjoy cheesy jokes and lavish effects.
Maybe not up to his mark of previous efforts, Evolution is still worthwhile..
Man this movie is stupid, but I cannot deny that it was fun at times. Yes it has more than its share of gross out humor, none of the jokes I would consider clever, but the way it was done was sure fun. Popcorn nonsense filled with a lot of 90's.
Wayne, I think we've established that "Ca-Caw Ca-Caw" and "Tookie Tookie" don't work.
Positives: So bad that it's good to laugh at.
Negatives: Champoo placement, yaikes; And well, everything else.
Now THAT'S funny.
The fact that my wife was serious in her question, and the fact that she stayed up late to watch the film (and I recorded it to (re)watch later) suggests that not all people feel the same way about Evolution the way that most critics did upon its release.
Yes, the film is a bald-faced attempt by Ivan Reitman and Hollywood to replicate Ghostbusters. So what? Ghostbusters fucking ROCKS! Even a pale facsimile of Ghostbusters is going to have just value. And Evolution isn't just a pale facsimile. Here's some things I appreciate about the film:
- The location work. Great little town. Location shoot meshes well with the studio stuff.
- The effects work. The creature-feature models and costumes are cheesy but fun. The CGI is fine.
- The cast. Sure David Duchovny does his standard narcoleptic shtick. But he's the perfect foil for the rest of the cast. Orlando Jones is bug-eyed "say what?" hammy perfection. Julianne Moore in her pre-pretentious days, has never been more endearing or lovely. I think this is my favourite perf of hers. And Seann William Scott steals scenes left right and centre. No, none of them are Bill Murray. But together I reckon these four carry a pretty good, pretty fun film.
My wife's favourite bit:
Dr. Allison Reed: What are you gonna do?
Dr. Paulson: We might have to amputate.
Harry Block: Whoa, Doc! Don't take my leg! Ira, don't let them take my leg.
Ira Kane: Isn't there anything else you can do? He thinks he's an athlete.
Nurse Tate: Doctor, look!
Paulson: It's headed for his testicles.
Block: Take it! Take it! Take the leg!
[Wayne tries to get the alien's attention by saying "caw-caw" and "tookie tookie" repeatedly]
Harry Block: Wayne! I think we've established that "Ca-caw, ca-caw" and "Tookie, tookie" don't work.