Doin' Time on Planet Earth (1988)

PG   |    |  Comedy, Sci-Fi


Doin' Time on Planet Earth (1988) Poster

Through a series of extraordinary circumstances, an eccentric teenager believes he may be the alien prince of a distant planet, ready to lead his brethren home.


4.4/10
220

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21 November 2002 | Blueghost
Charming.
This film has charm. Charles Matthau's first feature film has quirky appeal to it, but looks and feels very much like a high budgeted afterschool special. I mean that in a good way, because the film itself is well crafted, and the characterizations of the supporting cast puts a smile on this viewer's face.

The intro was particularly interesting, and helps draw you into the characters and their world. Unfortunately this aspect of the film is not carried on throughout, leaving the viewer to wonder exactly what happened. Even so the intro does a good job setting the overall tone for the film; an offbeat "teenage outcast come of age" type of movie.

Two highlights of this film are Adam West and Andrea Thompson. Adam West does a bang up job of portraying a well meaning neo-UFO-conspiracy-theorist, whose sole aim is to bring about certain events he as thinks they should unfold. He thinks he knows it all because the things he's seen, to him, seem to be falling into place for a really big event that'll solve all his (and his follower's) problems. Andrea Thompson plays the local "bad girl" who comforts our protagonist Ryan Richmond, and plays her part almost too well; by this I mean that when I saw her performance, to me, it seemed as if the producer's were trying to cut down on costs because the character she portrayed seemed so vaccuous at times, and I thought that was because of the actress. I was wrong. I've seen Andrea Thompson in other stuff and now know that her performance in this film was just a notch or two above everyone else, as she gave us the loner-chick in a leather coat. If she had played the character a little more light hearted the film might've benefittted some.

The underlying theme of the story is the outcast phenomena that occurs with many teens, and the pitfalls they face when confronted with people who seemingly understand them (but only on a very superfical level), and the disastrous consequences of such interactions when their true aims are made manifest. It's a good morality play for adolescents, but even so the film lacks energy at points, and suffers some because of it.

There're a few laughs here and there, and if you're a film fan who likes interesting characters and quirky films, then this may prove to be a bonafide masterpiece for your collection. Otherwise, even though I enjoyed it, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, as the mixture of off-beat comedy with teen angst strives for a goal that's a bit too ambitious for another otherwise fairly good film. Overall the comedy rides a low sine wave; some of the laughs are good, others not as much.

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Genres

Comedy | Sci-Fi

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