My Favorite Martian (1999)

Directed by Donald Petrie
Written by Sherri Stoner & Deanne Oliver, based on the classic TV series
Starring Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Daniels, Daryl Hannah, Elizabeth Hurley, Wallace Shawn

My Advice: Matinee.

Tim O'Hara (Daniels) is a reporter/producer who just isn't respected on the job.  The reporter/daughter (Hurley) of his boss is a bitch who only he can seem to work with.  A member of his crew, Lizzie (Hannah) is hopelessly smitten with him, but he either can't or won't notice it.  His life appears stuck in the same old rut until a martian crashlands in front of his car and takes on the form of his fictitious Uncle Martin (Lloyd), and of course, riotous chaos ensues.

I must admit I was filled with trepidation at viewing this film, which could have been just another speedbump on Hollywood's rocky road to adapt every single bloody TV show that's ever existed.  However, a clever and well-written screenplay is what saved this thing from being just like any other failure in the remake experiment.  Wry inside jokes about the original 60's series coupled with a great extended cameo by Ray Walston (the original Martin) as a MIB are just some of the facets that make this an enjoyable film. 

Great casting is also responsible: after watching Lloyd as the 90's Martin, you know there is no one who else that could have pulled it off.  Daniels fills Bill Bixby's shoes well as the hapless journalist.  The cast is obviously having fun on the screen and that translates well into fun for the audience.  Updates to the series, such as martian clothing that can walk and talk on its own, are surprisingly effective.  Worth a matinee at the theatre, I was amazed at how much fun the film was.

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