Movie Review: Evolution (2001)


Director: Ivan Reitman

Writers: Don JakobyDavid DiamondDavid Weissman

Stars: David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Julianne Moore

Verdict: Trash

I’m not going to spend much time on this one, I mean it’s not awful, but I spent the whole time just thinking of all the films I’d rather be watching. 

Evolution is nominally a sci-fi horror comedy that is neither scary nor funny. It follows two college professors who discover an extra-terrestrial organism that has an accelerated rate of evolution, (for all the sense that makes). 

It’s directed by Ivan Reitman, who has not only fathered Jason Reitman, (Up in the AirJunoThank You for Smoking), who, incidentally has a much better track record than his father, who’s made Ghostbusters, and the lesser seen but just as critically praised Dave, and that’s it. The catch is though that Ghostbusters is an incredible movie. It is one of the classics and deserves to be, it’s incredibly sparky, and witty and the performances are incredible in a way Evolution completely fails to live up to. I’m sorry, but David Duchovny, best known for The X-Files and Californication, Orlando Jones, best known for, well, nothing else, and frankly sounds more like a shit pirate of the Caribbean or a knock off superhero, do not Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver make. There are a few, alright jokes, the only jokes that’s anywhere near as clever as half the jokes in Ghostbusters is literally the last shot of the film and by then, frankly I’d lost patience. 

My friend told me that her brother had never watched this film sober, and I can believe it, but here’s the thing, there are really good stoner/drunk movies. Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies, which we incidentally watched the same day, is an incredibly witty, sparky and funny comedy with genuine jokes that work above a level of fnar-fnar. 

The film’s saving grace is Julianne Moore, (The Big LebowskiChildren of MenStill Alice), who I will watch in anything, and she is really good in this, a role that is frankly a bit demeaning, but she elevates it, I think. Although that might just be my goodwill towards Moore shining through. Whether or not she quite pull it off she is by far the best thing in the movie. Dan Akyroyd, (Ghostbusters, The Blues BrothersTrading Places) of all people shows up, and this must have been after he just went completely mad because he’s clearly trying to do that thing where you just have the time of your life eating scenery with chips on the side in a b movie, but, he’s just completely flat, I mean he showed up and I thought ‘my god finally someone who’s funny and can add some kind of spark of life to this, for the most part wet fish of a movie’ but no he’s just flat and wet and boring and awful and I with they’d got him to stay at home. Honestly if they’d gotten Dennis Leary in, at least they wouldn’t have spoiled my opinion of him. I mean Dennis Leary does knock off army general in his sleep it’s pretty much all he does in films like Small Soldiers, not, Dan Akyroyd. 

I know, it may be unfair to keep comparing it to Ghostbusters but it’s the difference between The Big Lebowski and Pineapple Express for stoner comedies, or even Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies and Pineapple Express. Ghostbusters is a sci-fi horror comedy that is both scary and funny. Evolution is neither, it has 2 funny scenes, 1 of which, as I’ve said, you have to wait for the end of the film to see, and honestly, the other one you can find on YouTube and it’s just as funny if not funnier. 


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