My Favorite Martian (1999) – Review

3 Stars

It’s an accepted rule that every adult character in a Disney movie circa 1990s’ is a complete moron. For any of these comedies to work characters are ordered by the script to be oblivious, unquestioning, and perfunctory. In many cases, the main character works against the plot, which is the situation for the first 45 minutes of My Favorite Martian. The 1960s’ television sitcom has been retro-modified to appeal to nostalgia minded baby boomers in the 1990s’ and their young children.

Tim O’Hara (Jeff Daniels) takes in an alien with plans to exploit him but has second thoughts after the alien wins his trust. The Martian (Christopher Lloyd) poses as O’Hara’s uncle and works on a plan to fix his damaged spaceship to return home. The film’s subplot involves a love triangle between the dopey Tim choosing between vixen co-worker Brace (Elizabeth Hurley) and the deserving Lizzie (Darryl Hannah). Meanwhile, a mysterious Government agent (Wallace Shawn) hunt the alien with plans of directing the creature in the name of science.

My Favorite Martian is funnier, more clever, and the most pleasing out of a disappointing crop of Disney flicks like Flubber, Inspector Gadget, Mr. Magoo, etc.. That is credit to some amusing lines from Zoot, the talking space-suit, and genuine chemistry between Jeff Daniels and Christopher Lloyd. Both actors seem engaged and treat silly material with a professional’s amount of respect. They don’t phone this one and their combined efforts make for an amusing and diverting 90 minutes of mindless *family entertainment.

*Being a 1990s’ movie there are scenes in which women are objectified, people smoke cigarettes, and there are references to pot and psychedelics. And remember this is a Disney movie. It’s unbelievable how much things have changed in 20 years.

Director: Donald Petrie
Stars: Jeff Daniels, Christopher Lloyd, Elizabeth Hurley

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