Release Date: January 26th, 2007 (Cinema Village) by Belladonna Productions.
The Cast: Cara Buono, Isaach De Bankolé, David Lansbury, Robert Peters, Melissa Leo, Joel De La Fuente, Paul Lazar, Peter Bartlett, Laurie Esterman, Robert Downey Sr.
Directed by Barry Strugatz.
BASIC PREMISE: Joanne (Buono), an unhappy housewife and mother, experiences an alien abduction and joins Abraham (De Bankolé), another abductee, on a quest to solve why the aliens chose them.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: From Other Worlds has an imaginative plot, but suffers from a stilted, unfocused script which diminishes any real suspense. Joanne already acts weird as she shops at a deli in the first scene, even before she has the alien encounter. After the abduction, her husband (Lansbury) finds her fainted in their backyard and sends her to a doctor who gives her anti-depressants. By chance, she finds a local UFO support group and meets Abraham, an Ivory Coast immigrant who bears the same mark that she has on her body after the abduction. What follows is an unfocused, mostly silly quest to figure out what the aliens wants from them by following certain clues. Cara Buono struggles to maintain a convincing Brooklyn accent as Joanne, who has very little chemistry with her new friend, Abraham—the scene when they kiss feels out-of-the-blue. Her husband claims that she’s having an affair given how rarely she spends time at home. In an outrageous subplot which belongs in another movie, a strange man flirts with an older librarian (Leo) and ends up going out with her for reasons that become apparent later. Writer/director Barry Strugatz has an imaginative screenplay that clearly pays homage to B sci-fi movies, but he fails to make the dialogue believable or any of the characters interesting or memorable. His attempts to add humor feel rather awkward and forced while some attempts for drama and action are sadly laughter-inducing. Moreover, a few characters unnecessarily express their racism, i.e. when Joanne’s mother finds out that Joanne befriends Abraham she complains that he’s not just African American, but African African—oh, and Joanne’s husband thinks that Abraham’s homeland, the Ivory Coast, refers to soap. With such a stilted, unfocused awkward script, a contrived plot and mediocre acting, every character seems, unintentionally, as though he or she comes from other worlds well beyond Earth.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 6
IN A NUTSHELL: Imaginative, but with stilted dialogue and a contrived, awkward and unfocused plot.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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