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Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Am Number Four



In I Am Number Four, aliens walk among us - aliens who look like they were torn from an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. In an ill-defined backstory, sexy blonde alien teenagers with superpowers are hidden away on Earth. Their planet was conquered by a race of bald, tattooed, grotesques with gills on their faces, and now they're on Earth killing the sexy blonde teenagers - in numerical order, for some reason. For it was foretold that only the sexy blonde teenagers have the necessary superpowers to stop the gill-faced grotesques. The sexy blonde teenagers' superpowers are called Legacies; their legacies involve having super strength, super agility, and high-powered flashlights in their hands. (If I had those powers, I'd draw a bat symbol on my palm and flash it up into the night sky. Maybe Batman would show up.)  Our sexy blonde square-jawed, monosyllabic hero is Alex Pettyfer. He is Number Four. He is also a big bore. Like all of the sexy blonde alien teenagers, Pettyfer has a guardian, Timothy Olyphant, who's constantly sneering and as impatient as I was for the movie to be over. (At least he got to leave early.)  Olyphant's job is to watch over Pettyfer and drag him around America to keep him hidden from the gill-faces, but apparently, it didn't mean he likes or even has to talk to the kid. Olyphant withholds vital information about Pettyfer's origins and powers from him, and also us, the audience. We have to watch Pettyfer learn the potential of having flashlights in his hands as he romances the hottest photographer girl in his high school, Dianna Agron of Glee, while dealing with the school bully and keeping his true sexy alien nature from being discovered.  He blows the last part royally. Agron and Pettyfer have a chaste, by the numbers teen romance - complete with the notion that the aliens from Pettyfer's race only love one person their whole lives - cue calculated swooning from the Twilight audience. Meanwhile, there's an even sexier blonde teenage alien out there, Teresa Palmer. She is Number Six, the sexiest of the sexy. She is also from the Australian continent of their homeworld, judging from her accent. Palmer is already fully trained in her powers, a motorcycle-riding, seasoned ass-kicker, and has mastered the art of walking away slow-motion from an explosion. Palmer only has two brief scenes in the first 90 minutes then shows up at the end for the big showdown between the sexy blondes and the gill-faces, complete with giant CGI alien lizards and dogs slugging it out.  How much more interesting would this movie have been if it were I Am Number Six, following Palmer around instead of Pettyfer?  Perhaps the sequel they rather confidently set up will answer that question. What will they call the sequel, anyway - I Am Number Four 2?