It's right up there with "based on a true story": the phrase "inspired by the classic US television series" on the credits is certain to strike fear into the hearts of movie lovers everywhere. Let's count them off, shall we? The Beverly Hillbillies, The Brady Bunch Movie, Dragnet, The Flintstones, Lost In Space... Enough already? Well, apparently not, because here we go again...
My Favourite Martian the movie is based on My Favourite Martian the `classic' US comedy, a '60s show which was kinda like I Dream Of Jeannie or Bewitched, except all the magical mischief was caused by a Martian. Named Martin.
Disney, which remains remake-fixated (try Flubber, The Parent Trap, George Of The Jungle), has excavated the original format (including the original jokes), slapped some special effects on it and left the cast to muddle through.
It's not that it's bad, it's just that it's seriously short on inspiration. Even the trademarked '90s special effects are merely a mish-mash of Men In Black and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. Hell, if there're people out there impressed by a CG pink alien with three eyes and a long tongue, then this kiddie-com could generate more excitement than that new Star Wars flick.
As far as comedy goes, there's a great sight gag at the beginning, a dash of toilet humour (that's a joke from inside the toilet bowl, naturally) and a handful of amusing lines which at least sound like they were written sometime this decade. And that's your lot. At a guess, it would have made for a pretty good episode of the original show.
Chances are kids will love it - - after all, they packed out Flubber. - But for the rest of us, My Favourite Martian only serves to underline how fresh and funny Men In Black was. Don't get the two confused; any similarities are merely coincidental.
At some point Disney probably had Robin Williams pencilled in for the title role. Maybe he could have injected this effects-heavy comedy with enough personality to prevent it from sliding into mediocrity. Then again, maybe not.