Evolution [2001]

Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Julianne Moore, Seann William Scott, Ted Levine
Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 101 minutes

Based on the evidence in Evolution, one thing is perfectly clear: special effects have evolved, but director Ivan Reitman has reverted to primitive pandering. Equally obvious is the fact that Evolution is a de facto rip-off of Reitman's 1984 classic Ghostbusters, but this time there's no Bill Murray to deliver the best punch lines (we have to settle for fellow ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd in a broad supporting role), and the comedy has devolved into a grossfest including deep-rectal extraction of alien insects, fire-hose enemas into a giant alien sphincter, and a full-moon display of David Duchovny's naked posterior. Whereas Ghostbusters was a shrewd, irreverent mainstream comedy that combined gooey spectral ectoplasm with something resembling genuine wit, Evolution is a crude, juvenile romp in which all things slimy are elevated to comedic supremacy. Granted, that's not always a bad thing. As latter-day ghostbuster equivalents, Duchovny, Orlando Jones, and Seann William Scott make a fine comedic trio, and Julianne Moore is equally amusing as a clumsy scientist and Duchovny's obligatory love interest. Despite the meddling of clueless military buffoons, they join forces to eradicate a wild variety of rapidly evolving alien creatures that arrived on Earth via meteor impact, and the extraterrestrial beasties (courtesy of effects wizard Phil Tippet and crew) are outrageously designed and marvelously convincing. For anyone who prefers lowbrow humor, Evolution will prove as entertaining as Ghostbusters (or at least Galaxy Quest), while others may lament Reitman's shameless embrace of crudeness. One thing's for certain: after seeing this movie, you'll gain a whole new appreciation for Head & Shoulders shampoo. --Jeff Shannon

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