Reviewed by: Nicola Osborne

Plonk David Duchovny in a film and you know you're in for a bad time. Not a reflection of his acting talents, but on the baggage he brings with him. This "sci-fi comedy" would do better without Mr X-Files starring.

Duchovny is Ira, a biology teacher in a dull suburban high school but he's a man with a past. Co-worker Harry (Orlando Jones) teaches... er... something (apparently) and is also the local rep for the "American Geological Society". He gets his first taste of excitment when a meteor crashes down on young wannabe fire fighters (the only genuinely funny performance in the film courtesy of Road Trip's Sean William Scott) prize car.

Come school lunch hour off Ira and Harry trot to take samples and have fun trying to look important. Problem is they actually find some seriously bizarre stuff on the giant steaming rock.

Cue lots of Duchovny being almost convincingly sciency, whilst Jones hams things up, shows a worrying lack of any kind of scientific knowledge, starts on a course of ever more unfunny race gags which would have looked outdated in Beverly Hills Cop.

And the samples from the meteor? Well they're growing... or are they doing more than that? (Hint: The clue's in the title!) Are they evolving maybe?

Enter the government, Ira's surrealy dark past (surely mistakenly left unchanged from the original serious sci-fi script) and the lovely but clumsy (providing the least funny gags in the film) Julianne Moore, as Alison an ice-queen career woman who, of course, has a heart of gold and a warm sexy soul just waiting to be released.

From here on it's good old-fashioned scientists-against-government-against-evolving-aliens stuff...

Whilst the creatures look fun and some of the effects are impressive the most creative idea the writers come up is that this alien species can evolve in EXACTLY the same was as man did only much quicker.

It also comes as no surprise to learn that the non-existent "comedy" was tacked on to a totally serious sci-fi script to make it fit better with director Ivan "Ghostbusters" Reitman's "comic expertise". So think inferior update - "Alienbusters", if you like.

Duchovny laughs all the way to the bank. Moore's picked a crappy part but she'll survive and Jones shows just enough potential to get you wondering why a one-time producer would ever turn to acting in such tripe in the first place.

Dan Aykroyd makes a nice cameo perking up one or two of the few titter-worthy set pieces, but this is yet another uninteresting piece of bad Hollywood bunkum.

Lest I've completely put you off though, Evolution is almost worth seeing for the ending which provokes huge laughs (of sheer disbelief) with perhaps the greatest and most bizarre product placement in cinema history!

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2001
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Lock up your biologists! Second rate comic sci-fi effort where the jokes fall as flat as the science... though the stars all have glossy kissable hair of course.
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Read more Evolution reviews:

Symon Parsons ***1/2

Director: Ivan Reitman

Writer: David Diamond, David Weissman, Don Jakoby

Starring: David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Julianne Moore, Seann William Scott, Ty Burrell, Ted Levine

Year: 2001

Runtime: 101 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US,


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