Movie Review: I Am Number Four

Due to a blowout in the Giants-Saints Monday Night Football game, I was channel surfing early and just caught the beginning to D.J. Caruso’s I Am Number Four.  I sucked it up and powered through the following 90-something minutes.

I started off very down on Caruso.  He made some bad, very uninteresting movies with casts and topics that should have been exciting.  Salton Sea. Taking Lives. Two For the Money.  It wasn’t until Disturbia that he started to show any chops. It is notable that he was directing episodes of The Shield right before that, which could be the reason for the uptick in his skillset.  I think he takes a step backwards here, but I’m not so sure it is his fault. The script, based on a novel, is fairly formulaic and a bit ridiculous. Caruso does his best with what he’s given, but he’s not given much.  A lame X-Men meets Heroes rip-off plot, poor acting and a limited vfx budget.  Even the villains, the Mogs, look ridiculous. Overall, the film actually reminded me a lot of the 80’s Masters of the Universe with Dolph Lundgren.

Alex Pettyfer tries, but fails to garner much emotional impact from his performance. A constantly clenched jaw doesn’t make you James Dean, nor is it good acting. Dianne Agron is unwatchable as the love interest and is best suited for tween television. Jake Abel is given the extremely trite role of the ‘bad guy’.  He goes from date rapist/kidnapper at one point to homeboy at the end in a matter of a few minutes/days… Everything sort of just happens, with no emotional connection or stakes.  Teresa Palmer’s Number Six comes out of nowhere and just saves the day – and we are just supposed to accept that. I didn’t. It felt like the extended pilot to a television show, which is maybe where it should have aired.  Except Heroes already beat it out.

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