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Starring David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Julianne Moore, Seann William Scott, Dan Aykroyd
Screenplay by Don Jakoby and David Diamond and David Weissman
Directed by Ivan Reitman

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IN SHORT: Cool creatures. Great comedy. A heckuva fun time. [Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, and for sci-fi action. 102 minutes]

Evolution is the process by which single celled amoebas grew into multicelled creatures and they grew into slug things and dinosaurs and birds and plants and people and all sorts of evolved things. For some adults, this process of "growing up" means they lose their sense of humor which, thankfully, is not the case for producer/director Ivan Reitman who continues a string of comedy success that dates back as far as Animal House (which he produced) with Evolution.

We had one kidlet in front of us who was pissed off that Evolution wasn't a scary movie -- the presence of monsters automatically meant scary to him -- but that caveat aside, the rest of our audience split its sides as an extraterrestrial meteor decides to put down retirement roots in suburban Arizona. There, it trashes a classic car owned by would be fireman Wayne Gray (Seann William Scott) and settles in a network of subterranean caverns and tunnels that run beneath the lovely town of Glen Canyon, where geology professors Dr. Ira Kane (David Duchovny) and Dr. Harry Block (Orlando Jones) are dead-ended in $17,500 a year jobs at the Community College. We will step aside for the moment to point out that there are no in-jokes that specifically reference Duchovny's alien fighting existence on the X-Files, there are some government references that are funny in their own right. Read into 'em what you want.

Kane and Block see this meteor-ological discovery as their ticket out of town and try to keep their exclusive under wraps, especially when it starts to ooze and bleed and demonstrate evolution-like behavior under the gaze of their microscopes. They also notice that the oxygen in our atmosphere is fatal to the new breed of creatures that they find at the site -- that's why the meteor is generating it's own methane atmo in the Arizona cave. So, knowing the solution to the potential problem, our heroes return to the site to discover that the Army has beat 'em to it and hermetically sealed off the area. In charge of the area is generic Army General Woodman (Ted Levine) and a klutz of a CDC investigative scientist named Allison Reed (Julianne Moore)

Things happen quickly from this point on. What had been ooze and slime has evolved into worms and flying creatures and more. As the citizens of the small Arizona town panic, jam the highways and head for the metaphorical hills the college students break out the kegs and par-tay. The creatures that inhabit the area, designed by Phil Tippett Studios are cute and adorable and carry their own set of surprises and shocks. And, sooner or later, they're going to become dangerous.

With the exception of the kidlet mentioned above, the comedy in Evolution is broad enough that all the other kids in our audience giggled as much as the grownups did. What scares there are in the flick are all akin to a surprise BOO! being laid on you.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Evolution, he would have paid . . .


Dan Aykroyd stars as the Governor of Arizona and, in a nod no one but film critics will take concrete note of, all of our heroes wind up in yellow coats for the big climactic battle with the amoebas from outer space hell. Well, who else are ya gonna call?

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