For over a decade, I’ve been a fan of John Cusack’s work, and aside from 1408, I’ve seen most of his work created over that span.  I usually don’t even pay too much attention to the plots of his films, so long as they don’t seem too supernatural.  I didn’t just see Martian Child because it’s a John Cusack film.  I saw it because the concept looked interesting:  a kid who thinks he’s from another planet.

I know, I mentioned not enjoying Cusack’s supernatural offerings, but this wasn’t a Sci-Fi movie.  It was actually a fairly touching character piece about a lonely guy who finds a person who can fill a void in his life, and for whom he feels he can return the favor.

Bobby Carpenter, the titular character Martian Child who does a great job in his role.  You really get the idea that this kid believes he’s from Mars, and until the very end of the movie you likely find yourself wondering which direction they’re going to go with the ending (if you can suspend that disbelief).  Aside from Carpenter and John Cusack, everyone else does a passable (if not forgettable) job in their roles.  Joan Cusack doesn’t have a ton of meat to her character but obviously has good chemistry with her real-life brother.  The same can be said of Amanda Peet (aside from the “brother” part).  There’s nothing offensive about the performances of Richard Schiff and Oliver Platt, but those aren’t deep characters either.

There are plenty of better options to rent, including half of the John Cusack movies I’ve ever seen, and this isn’t particularly a “guy” movie, but if you enjoy heart-warming roles and are willing to suspend your disbelief just a little bit and don’t get your hopes up too high, Martian Child is a film which could be part of a pleasant evening for you.


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