by Brian McKay
Mix one part David Duchovney and one part Orlando Jones. Add a tablespoon of "Tremors", a teaspoon of "Dune", a dash of "Independence day" and a dollop of "Jurassic Park". Sprinkle in a liberal ammount of alien goop, fungus, and bizarre life forms. Toss in a lit match, and you have "Evolution" - a flavorful blend of comedy and, surprisingly, some semi-intelligent sci-fi.Some movies just work - not because the writing, directing, or acting is exceptionally stellar, but simply because the right chemistry is there. "Evolution" is a film that evolves beyond the sum of its parts to create a memorable comedy, the first we've seen from director Ivan Reitman in years.
"Hilarious for X-Philes, and pretty damn funny for the rest of us, too."
Reitman was on a roll with his earlier films. "Meatballs", "Stripes", and "Ghostbusters" were all instant comedy classics. Then he started doing crap like "Twins", "Junior" (Schwarznegger in drag? That's not funny, just disturbing), "Father's Day", etc. But after a long slew of hit and miss, Ivan is back, and he got game.
Evolution begins with wannabe firefighter Wayne Green (Seann William Scott - a man with three first names, as if the extra "N" in Sean weren't enough overkill) is nearly flattened by a falling meteorite. Unsure what to do, he contacts Junior College Geology professor and girls' volleyball coach Harry Block (Orlando Jones) to come out and have a look at it. Harry drags his colleague and best friend, Biology professor Ira Kane (Duchovny), along for the ride, and they both quickly realize that they have stumbled upon the find of a lifetime. The space rock is not only quickly modifying the atmosphere around it, it is producing various monstrosities that are multiplying and mutating at an alarming rate. Soon enough (of course), the military takes over the investigation of the meteor, led by general Woodman (Ted "It puts the lotion in the basket" Levine). And, in order to insure that the film will have a designated babe and love interest for Duchovny, Julianne Moore joins the cast as clumsy CDC investigator Allison Reed (Looking the sexy bitch, as always, even if she is tripping over something half the time).
The cast members compliment each other well, and Duchovny and Jones have great buddy movie chemistry, with Scott along as the dim-witted but exuberant sidekick. Duchovny seems to be especially enjoying himself, since he is free to poke fun at his X-Files roots now that he is no longer contractually bound to them - and believe me, he does so frequently and gleefully with lines like "Oh no, you don't want to take this to the government. Trust me, I know those people". Fans of the show that made him famous will doubtless catch dozens of subtle scenes and jokes reminiscent of his Agent Mulder days. Jones seems to enjoy playing along with the in-jokes as well, and provides solid give-and-take with his co-star. Neither of them seem to be trying too hard, and their easy-going approach to their characters and dialouge just make the jokes that much funnier. The scenes where they saunter up to a dead monster, toting shotguns like they were at the OK-Corral, or sing along with "Play that Funky Music, White Boy" while driving across the desert, are guaranteed moments of laugh-your-ass-off fun. Meanwhile, the science-fiction elements of the story are competently done, and with a little work could have been incorporated equally well into a serious horror/thriller vein.The result is a refreshingly intelligent comedy that will leave you laughing after you've left the theater, even if you don't catch every little in-joke. "Evolution" is like a chemistry set experiment that could have gone horribly awry, but turns out just right.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4710&reviewer=258
originally posted: 06/09/01 21:39:49