starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Sophie Okonedo, Joan Cusack
screenplay by Seth E. Bass & Jonathan Tolins, based on the novel The Martian Child by David Gerrold
directed by Menno Meyjes
screenplay by Jerry Seinfeld and Spike Feresten & Barry Marder & Andy Robin
directed by Simon J. Smith, Steve Hickner
by Walter Chaw If not for a moment where John Cusack delivers in his Cusack Patter™ a speech about the beauty of love in a temporary world, there would be nothing at all to recommend Martian Child. It's a heartless bit of heartfelt pap wherein widower and sci-fi author David (Cusack™) decides on an apparent whim to adopt crazy-ass little boy Dennis (Bobby Coleman) from a day-care/orphanage that should have its license revoked. The little kid looks and acts like Michael Jackson, complete with DayGlo complexion, parasol, and breathy squeak-talk from the Jennifer Lopez school of urgency, turning Coleman's into the most irritating performance since the last time Lopez was in anything. Closer to the point, the screenplay is a series of non-reactive statements expected to be taken at face value: that this dude would adopt a quirkily-disabled kleptomaniac freakshow and feel the sting of parental devotion, for instance, or that the two of them would teach each other to, gulp, love again. It all plays like an Oliver Sacks case study by the end, a Paul Simon adult-contemporary story-song--The Boy on the Specimen Tray and the Dog Reaction Shot.