I Am Number Four
Directed by: D.J Caruso Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer Running Time: 1 hr 45 mins Rating: PG-13 Due Out: May 24, 2011
PLOT: I Am Number Four follows an extraordinary alien teenager trying to blend into a small town, while eluding a vicious breed of aliens that are trying to exterminate his race.
WHO'S IT FOR? People who are easily distracted or like shiny things may go for this one. The other obvious crowd is the tweens who might go for Pettyfer's looks or Glee star Agron. Ultimately, fans of the tired high school movie with a hint of extra-terrestrial angst are the main targets of this box office bomb.
I Am Number Four is, in and of itself, a mess of contradictions. While the movie tries to show Number Four a.k.a. John Smith as an extraordinary being, the only way it manages to do that is with the film's impressive special effects. Otherwise, John is your typical new kid, trying to fit in at a school, falling for the girl, and making friends and enemies along the way.
This would be all well and good if any of the other characters were offered any more complexity in hopes of fleshing out the dynamics or the relationships of all of these people, but nobody seems to get more dimensional than a cardboard cutout. You've got your pretty girl who has more depth than most people would believe, then you've got your bully, a mentor for young John and finally, a sidekick. What is perhaps most distracting or even bewildering about the movie is that the most compassionate and engaging character of the lot, for me at least, was John's "sidekick", Sam. Sam may not get the most screen time, but when it comes to story and actual heart, Sam is given a lot to carry. Actor Callan McAuliffe proves himself more than capable in a role that most would casually shrug off.
Unfortunately, what little material McAuliffe is given to work with cannot atone for the other transgressions of this movie, which suffers from odd pacing and a stunning lack of sincerity. By the time the film's climactic battle came around, I was certain that whether John Smith and his band of cohorts lived or died, I didn't care as long as it was over. Throw in a couple of deus ex machinas and you've got a painfully contrived and one-note movie that offers little to its audience other than a couple of special effects "ooh" and "aah" moments that are hardly worth the near two-hour running time.
MOVIE SCORE: 4/10
"Becoming Number Six" Featurette Bloopers Deleted Scenes