From Other Worlds Written and directed by Barry Strugatz
Opens January 26, Cinema Village
There's no beguilement to this toothless caprice by writer- director Barry Strugatz, who may intend a spoof of '50s melodramas and alien abductions but delivers instead an inert doodle. Though lacking intelligent life, this sci-fi comedy does advance the novel notion that aliens do not discriminate. "They probed me up the wazoo . . . without lubrication," says the midget at a Brooklyn meeting for people who allege to have been taken by aliens. Note the pause in the little guy's confession, which is emblematic of the film's sitcomish delivery; then heed the scarcely moving uprising commanded by a Brooklyn housewife, Joanne (Cara Buono), and an Ivory Coast immigrant, Abraham (Isaach De Bankolé), when an alien tells them that a recently uncovered Egyptian scroll could destroy the world. After Joanne alleges to have been abducted, she's diagnosed with MOAD (Manic Obsessive Anxiety Disorder), but her behavior at a fish market is more accurately diagnosed as MJC (Miranda July Complex). Strugatz, though, relieves Joanne's inclination for twee cocooning early on, allowing her to play bloodhound in what could be a plotline from 3-2-1 Contact before then returning her to her banal housewifery. It would appear that our filmmaker, who pays lip service to the city's multiculti identity, has not seen his fantasies of female emancipation evolve since writing Married to the Mob and She-Devil.