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When panspermia happens, it's time to grab the dandruff shampoo.


When science professors Ira (David Duchovny) and Harry (Orlando Jones) are first to discover microscopic organisms on a meteor from outer space that smashed into the nearby Arizona desert, they're anticipating leaving their community college for fame and fortune. That is, until they find out these single-celled creatures divide--and--divide--and divide again at light speed, evolving into weird varieties of alien flora and fauna that threaten to take over the world if they're not stopped. The army steps in, but before it makes the situation worse Ira, Harry and their motley crew, including government scientist Allison (Julianne Moore) and fireman-in-training Wayne (Seann William Scott), learn that the secret to stopping world domination might just lie on the corner grocery store shelves.


David Duchovny in a movie opposite anything but aliens is the kiss of death--at least he avoids winking at the camera and manages a smarmy irony that has its moments. Duchovny and Jones make a better couple than Duchovny and Moore; one wonders what the double Oscar-winner is doing here as Ira's klutzy-yet-uptight love interest. Whether it's her lines or her delivery, her character is decidedly unfunny, with little to do but fall over herself (hardly an original concept in physical comedy). Scott is the movie's scene-stealer, endearing as a not-too-bright country club cabana boy (ya don't say!) who desperately wants to be a fireman and gets his chance after he accidentally ends up at ground zero of the meteor crash. Once he hooks up with the scientists to save the world, his hapless doof plays well to Ira's smarts and Harry's sarcasm.


It's been 15 years since Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis rid the world of evil in the first Ghostbusters, and movie audiences have missed director Ivan Reitman's unique brand of funny sci-fi. So, apparently, has Reitman, since he recycles much of his own formula here: three guys and a gal, smart-ass banter and band together to and save the world. But the film is colorful, cheesy fun, making the most of one-liner-peppered dialogue, a population of fantastic CGI creatures and cataclysmic special effects. Some moviegoers may find the crass bathroom humor juvenile, and not all the jokes hit the mark, but Evolution is one of those guilty pleasures you'll find yourself laughing at despite yourself.

Bottom line

While entertaining, Evolution hasn't come a long way from tried-and-true formula.