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Friday, July 28, 2017

THE MAN FROM OUTER SPACE -- Movie Review by Porfle

The story of a man frantically trying to juggle family and career, THE MAN FROM OUTER SPACE (2017) is a simple, somewhat threadbare tale even though it's made up of two interwoven storylines.

In the first one, Louis (Christopher Mychael Watson, UNTOUCHED) is an aspiring screenwriter whose big break comes when he and his narcissistic young agent Kyle (Darren Hummel) are allowed the privilege of pitching some story ideas to big-wig producer Harold (Todd Christian Elliott).

But when Louis gets cornered into whipping up a script over the weekend, this conflicts with all the fatherly stuff he's promised he would do with his daughter Makayla (Aliyah Conley), putting him in the dog house with both her and his rather unyielding wife Alyssa (Erica Auerbach, UNDERCURRENT).

The second storyline consists of the relatively pedestrian sci-fi yarn Louis is making up on the fly about an astronaut from Mars who crash-lands on post-apocalypse Earth and discovers two inhabitants, a mother and her daughter, living in the wild. 

The three characters are played by Louis and his family, so it becomes clear pretty quick that this is all a metaphor for what's going on in his real life at the moment.  The astronaut will eventually have to decide what's more important--his mission, or the relationship between him and his new "family."

In his feature debut, writer-director Ben Hall does a decent job with a modest budget while giving us a story so predictable that actually watching it to the end feels like going through the motions.

The real-world Louis has my sympathies as he desperately struggles to make good on his big break despite being made out as a neglectful father by a wife who seems to have zero empathy and understanding for him.  The kid I can understand, but Alyssa really turned me off as a character.

Fantasy-Louis is somewhat more interesting despite the fact that his big sci-fi saga--the one that's supposed to grab the demanding producer's attention--is about as original and deep as "Space Ship Sappy" with the Three Stooges. 

And when some of his fellow astronauts from Mars show up acting all arch and threatening, it reminded me of TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE.  Which was fun in a way, but not terribly involving.

My reaction to THE MAN FROM OUTER SPACE as a whole was similarly mixed--fun at times (mainly the bad sci-fi elements) but not all that engaging overall.  Maybe next time Louis could come up with a more harrowing script based on his life, and call it "The Man Who Was Almost Nagged To Death."


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