Ghostbusters was a defining moment in this genre, and since its creation 17 years ago, many movies have tried to dethrone it, and many have come close, such as Men In Black, but Ghostbusters has remained the genre's standard. Evolution follows the Ghostbusters playbook, even so far as to include Dan Akroyd in a cameo as Arizona's governor. The result is a fun, entertaining ride, although in the end it pales in comparison to Rietman's own comedy classic.
The plot follows two community college professers, Ira Kane (David Duchovny) and Harry Block (Orlando Jones), who discover a metor that has fallen to earth. Upon closer examination, they discover tiny, one-celled organisms, ones that are not of this planet. Determined to keep the goverment out of this so he can keep credit, Ira drags Harry back to the site of the crash, only to find the goverment has already found out about the metor.
Well, this does nothing to discourage the two professers, and they soon return to the cave where the metor fell. There is one minor difference, though: the tiny little organisms are evolving. And they aren't very nice.
There are many things going for this movie: Duchovny's deadpan performance is one major plus. He plays Kane almost as though he were parodying his own character from The X-Files. Orlando Jones, mainly known for his famous "Make 7 Up Yours" commercials, gives a widley funny take on someone who could have been played as a campy, over-the-top, stereotypical black guy-instead, his reactions are realistic and his comedic timing is almost on par with Eddie Murphey. Seann William Scott had his standard drop-out goofball role, except this time he gets a little more fleshed out (not much, just a little). The only performance that is below average, suprisingly, is Julianne Moore as the klutzy love intrest. She gets a few good zingers in their, but she really never gets any motivation like the other characters. She and Duchovny also don't have very good chemistry; they don't have any really good bantar like Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver did in Ghostbusters. However, the centerpice where Duchovny, Jones and Scott chase a flying alien through a mall is truley exciting and humorus (kinda like Ghostbusters' scene with Slimer....)
However, a few things do hamper Evolution from being a great comedy. First of all is the fact that it may have borrowed a little TOO heavily from Ghostbusters. There were many scenes that almost seem like they are re-enactments from Rietman's original(example: Duchovny walks in right when Jones is putting the moves on a college girl....sound familar?) Also, the military commanders were a little too cliched. These are minor faults, but they end up taking away from the overall effect.
I also would have liked it if they had spent more time exploring the evolving primates. They could have given the film the edge it needed if they had taken the creatures in the right direction. Also, the films climax was funny, but in these kind of films you have to have both funny AND exciting stuff happening. In "Ghostbusters", it was the climactic duel with the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man. In "Arachnophobia", it was Jeff Daniels battle with the queen spider. In "Men In Black", it was Will Smith trying his hardest to keep that bug on this planet. Here it was just giggle-inducing, but you never get the build-up, no feeling that their lives may just be in peril. It's also border-line gross-out.
But, in the end, the strengths outwiegh the weaknesses, so I still give this film a solid recommendation, especially if you loved "Ghostbusters" (which I do).
Rated PG-13 for crude humor, violence and language.
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