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By Ron Wells | February 15, 1999

First “101 Dalmations”, now this. Does Disney have incriminating pictures of Jeff Daniels, or what? In a remake of the 1963 television show, Jeff takes over the Bill Bixby role of Tim O’Hara. Tim, a TV news producer blunders upon the crash landing of a wacky Martian (Christopher Lloyd). Transforming into human appearance, the Martian becomes Tim’s “uncle Martin” and generally disrupts Tim’s life and attempts to reveal the alien’s presence while trying to repair his spaceship. Hilarity ensues.
Ten years ago at Disney, Jeffrey Katzenberg used to recycle French comedies (“Three Men and a Baby”, “Three Fugitives”, “Pure Luck”) with declining American stars (at the time, Nick Nolte, Bette Midler, Richard Dreyfus) on the cheap to fill out their release slate. Now, the studio seems to be remaking everything (“Mighty Joe Young”, “101 Dalmations”) at ridiculous budgets in a vain attempt to create the kind of cheap, wacky family comedies the studio used to make in the 1970’s. Get ready for “Boatniks 2000”. The results? This is the worst and most cringe-inducing film I’ve seen since Woody Allen’s “Celebrity”. It looks like it’s aimed at four year-olds with Attention Deficit Disorder. One example of the comedy gold to be mined is the alien’s spacesuit is not only alive, but neurotic with a penchant for breaking into song. They wisely kept this little nugget out of the trailers. Michæl Lerner, Daryl Hannah, and Elizabeth Hurley are also left in the lurch. While Hurley’s vapid character is the object of a crush by O’Hara, I’ve never seen the actress appear less attractive than she does here. This isn’t a movie, it’s an outline for Happy Meals and theme park rides. Avoid at all costs.

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