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I Am Number Four 

A big, dumb movie for the Team Edward/Jacob crowd.

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High school is hard. High school is even harder when you’re a secret ET in hiding from alien villains. And now that the other alien kids are dead, you’re next.

Why are these alien kids so important? And why are the bad aliens so inconsistent in their badness (they could be having fun decimating 6 billion plus humans, instead of hunting down one random bland blond kid)? Who cares! John Smith (the exceptionally bland and blond Alex Pettyfer) is a sad, lonely, brooding, a-dor-able cute alien guy who uses his awesome alien powers to come to the defense of geeks getting bullied. He likes sensitive, artistic girls. And they like him back! Sigh. It’s just like Twilight except he’s from outer space instead of inner night. It’s just like Harry Potter only totally without any charm or humor.

At least Henri, John’s alien warrior guardian, is played by the Timothy Olyphant — though his talents are wasted here. Why couldn’t the movie be about an alien who’s 40 instead of 16? Hasn’t adolescence and high school as a metaphor for feeling alienated been done to death? If there is a new nuance to find in the trope, Four doesn’t find it. But there is a climactic alien battle at the high school that is likely good for at least one unexpected day off for the students. So there’s that teen fantasy indulged. Harry Potter and Twilight never did that.

I suppose if big dumb movies like this one usually can’t even draw human people in a believable way, we shouldn’t expect them to draw alien-people believably. Henri’s warns John about his sensitive photographer nerdy-but-hot girlfriend (Dianna Agron) that he’s alien, and they “don’t love like the humans.” No, they love forever. That just seems like a ploy to get swooning teenage girls to give up their membership on Team Edward or Team Jacob and come over to Team Four. And that might even work. (Rated PG-13 ).


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