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'Number 4' predictable, fun

Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011, at 9:39 PM

I had hoped to drop a pair of reviews on our readers this week, but unfortunately I wasn't able to make time for the second one.

With a pair of new action releases hitting the theaters last Friday, I opted to screen "I Am Number Four," a science fiction love story of sorts. (Your on your own with "Unknown," Liam Neeson's new action pic).

With "Four," think "Twilight" but exchange the whole vampire/werewolf dynamic for space alien/football bullies.

John (Alex Pettyfer) has no friends and no life. This is largely due to the fact that he's been on the move since his arrival on earth as a young child. John is one of nine children who fled his home planet under the watchful guard of an alien warrior, to be raised as a human until he can mature and gain the powers he is destined to develop. John - Smith, the name all kids in hiding use to blend in - and the other eight, are regarded as they dead planets last hope to stop the Alien marauders known as the Mogs.

Problem: John knows he's an alien, knows the Mog have targeted him for extermination (they killed the first three and he's number four on the list) and he has no idea he's developing powers.

He tries to live a normal teen life, despite the wishes of his guardian, Henri (Timothy Olyphant), who wants John to fly under the radar. Ya, like that's going to happen.

After an incident at a beach-front paradise exposes John's "freakish" glowing hands and legs, filmed and placed on YouTube, Henri and his teen charge relocate far away to a small town in Ohio. The first day at his new high school, he runs into an intriguing young lady, Sarah (Dianna Agron), who finds him an interesting subject for her camera fixation. John also discovers the obligatory bully, the school's quarterback, and his minions, who hate new kids, UFO geek kids and anybody that is interested in Sarah.

This coming-of-age story, where a teen boy grows into his superhuman powers, gets the girl and befriends the geek who believes his father was abducted by aliens, will appeal to sci-fi fans and maybe some action junkies. Everyone else, not so much.

I've definitely seen worse. There's moments of humor and you can genuinely sympathize with a young man who can't seem to make friends or fit in because he's always the new kid in town. Plus there's that thing about the Mogadorian's trying to kill him.

John is also being stalked by Number Six (Teresa Palmer), who is tracking him so they can work together to stop the Mog invasions. She works behind the scenes to try and clean up his tracks, and throw the Mogs off his trail. When the two "numbers" get together for the big showdown with the alien bad guys in the movie's climactic battle at the high school - they create so much damage and destruction, I had hoped the movie would have been about 15 minutes longer to see them try to explain away all the explosions and destruction throughout the normally quiet, small Ohio town.

The movie definitely sets itself up for a sequel. It could actually be a series. Only box office receipts will tell.

Randy's Review:

On a scale of five popcorn buckets, I would give "I Am Number Four," three with a couple of squirts for the fun, and one more - a shout out to the geeky UFO kid - who said his life is like an episode of "X-Files." Hopefully minus David Duchovny. Looking for a little fun, this might fill the bill, don't look for it in next year's Oscar hunt however. This movie was screened at Southpark 7 in Spencer. Running Time: 1 hr. 44 min. MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for language.

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A Little to the Right
By Randy M. Cauthron
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Randy Cauthron is the managing editor of the Daily Reporter. He has been with the paper since 2003 and has worked in the newspaper business since 1993. Randy enjoys entertainment and sports. He has wife, Leah and six children living in Spencer. Randy enjoys sharing his opinion on everything from entertainment, pop culture, politics and sports.
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