Making the Grades
During the space fever sixties, CBS took the opportunity to launch its own mission -- My Favorite Martian. The series, which ran for a few years, featured a reporter and his loveable Martian sidekick operating under the human pseudonym of Uncle Martin. Now Disney archaeologists have unearthed this "classic" and put it into a contemporary setting.
Today Christopher Lloyd plays the Martian in disguise. His spacecraft crashes on a beach, and the only witness is television news producer Tim O'Hara (Jeff Daniels). While Martin warns Tim not to tell anyone of his existence, Tim plots to use this as a big news, big money opportunity. Unfortunately, no one will believe him, thanks to a special gum that Martin chews to maintain a human appearance. But when the UFO scientists come poking around, headed by Coleye (Wallace Shawn), the media begins to take notice, especially as star anchorwoman Brace (Elizabeth Hurley) is unwittingly implicated in the plot of harboring an alien.
Surprisingly, the one character that isn't "off the rack" is Martin's suit. Suit, as he is called, is a poly-morphing, sex starved creature who acts as Martin's sidekick. His antics, along with the many other sight gags and effects in the film, will draw the interests of even the youngest children.
However, most of the comedy in the dialogue is generated through sexual innuendo (including a rear shot of Daniels naked) and other vulgar connotations. All the female character's manner and dress suggest they only know one way to gain a man's attention.
In between low-cut dresses and bathroom humor, there is an unusual amount of violence for a PG film. Many scenes involve guns, including one where Suit is shot two times and appears dead. In another brawl, two military-type characters repeatedly punch Tim in the stomach, yet Tim walks away uninjured. In a film targeted at children, these scenes may invite later imitative acts with no regard for real-life consequences. Sorry, but my favorite Martian blasted off in 1965.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about My Favorite Martian.
Regarding his infatuation for Brace, Tim is cautioned that, “Lust is blind.” What does this say about his motives in pursuing a relationship with Brace. What does Brace’s manner of dress and behavior (she tries to use sex to bribe Coleye) along with the other female characters, say about women’s priorities in a relationship? Overall, how do all of these interactions influence the way audiences (especially younger children) expect men and women to act in reality?