Directed by: D.J. Caruso
Premise: An alien refugee hides on earth as a teenage boy. When the savage alien race that destroyed his home world come looking for him, he must fight them off in order to save his new home.
What Works: The ending of I Am Number Four is a lot of fun with some well-designed action scenes and some humor. Although the film is geared toward families and young male audiences, the villain of I Am Number Four is an intimidating and frightening creature and actor Kevin Durand brings a vicious sense of humor to the role reminiscent of Robert Englund in his better performances as Freddy Krueger.
What Doesn’t: Although the ending of I Am Number Four is fun, the rest of the movie isn’t. The film uses voice over to convey its exposition and set up the premise but it never goes beyond that. I Am Number Four never creates a convincing context in which the audience can situate themselves and understand the story world. Timothy Olyphant plays the guardian of the lead character and he constantly goes on and on about the importance of the young man’s survival but his significance is never made clear. It doesn’t help that the script reduces the protaganist to just another lonely looking teen and actor Alex Pettyfer brings nothing to the role. The middle of the story goes through a dry spell with a cliché conflict between outsiders and the in-crowd and a halfhearted romance between Pettyfer’s character and his high school love interest (Dianna Agron) is unconvincing.
Bottom Line: I Am Number Four is a fourth-rate science fiction film. It is a blatant attempt to ride the coattails of the Twilight series, and while those films are certainly not great, they look much better by comparison.
Episode: N/A (February 20, 2011)