Ready ‘Four’ action at the movies
Girl meets guy. Guy meets girl. They fall in love. Guy turns out to be an alien. Not your average romance, but this is the premise of “I Am Number Four,” the entertaining, if predictable, movie released last Friday.
The movie tells the story of Number Four (Alex Pettyfer, who can next seen with Vanessa Hudgens in “Beastly”), the fourth alien in a line of eight that are the last of their race and are consequently being hunted down and killed. The movie opens with the murder of the third alien.
With this, Number Four realizes that he is next. He and his guardian, Henri (Timothy Olyphant), move to the small town of Paradise, Ohio, to try to hide.
Like every other supernatural human that has graced the silver screen lately (think “Twilight”), Number Four attends high school, promising to keep a low profile. There he meets all your high school stereotypes: the jock who bullies students, the “loser” being bullied and the jock’s ex-girlfriend, now the loner of the school, played by Dianna Agron, of TV’s “Glee”.
Taking the name John Smith, Number Four begins to fall in love with Sarah Hart (Agron), while being hunted by the enemy aliens and by Number Six (Teresa Palmer), a fellow alien who is looking for him for reasons that are not apparent until the end.
It all comes together with the typical climatic battle at the end of the movie, leaving it open for a possible sequel.
Director D.J. Caruso (“Eagle Eye,” “Disturbia”) infuses the typical film formula with new things, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats with moments that lean more towards a horror movie then an action film. Although the film is predictable and you know what is coming, Caruso keeps you guessing with how exactly it is coming.
As the film is produced by Michael Bay, the action scenes are, of course, top-rate, but Caruso also leaves time for the romance, and the tension, to build.
A screenplay by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and Marti Noxon only varies slightly from the book on which the movie is based.
Pettyfer’s acting can sometimes become wooden, apparent in the death of one of the characters, but he and Agron have believable chemistry. Agron, Callan McAuliffe as the high school nerd and sidekick to Number Four and Olyphant bring humor to their characters. Palmer absolutely steals the show as Number Six, delivering some of the best lines in the film, and Kevin Durand is frightening as the head of the enemy aliens hunting down Number Four.
Even though the film lacks surprises, with this movie it is all about the ride. And what a ride it is.
Mary Kate Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.