Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron, Callam McAuliffe, Timothy Olyphant and Teresa Palmer.
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
Extraordinary teen John Smith (Pettyfer) is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him. Changing his identity, moving from town to town with his guardian Henri (Olyphant), John is always the new kid with no ties to his past. In the small Ohio town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events-his first love (Agron), powerful new abilities and a connection to the others who share his incredible destiny. Walt Disney PicturesReview:
Stepping inside the cinema I knew nothing about the premise on which this movie is based upon. My knowledge could be encapsulated into four throwaway facts: 1) Alex Pettyfer is pretty, 2) Dianna Agron is the least talented singer on Glee (but probably the most act-capable), 3) DJ Caruso directed Suburbia, which I quite liked and 4) the book in which this film is based was written via James Frey's writing sweat shop.
My expectations were low. Not just low, Twilight and Sex and the City 2 low. I left the theatre surprised. Not JJ Abrams' Star Trek surprised but pleasantly surprised. The story isn't anything new - outsider falls in love with a girl who is anything but the ordinary she pretends to be. Outsider has an epic responsibility and finds that anything is possible with the support of friends. End scene. I Am Number Four is in a nutshell a terribly bland premise with blue hand lights.
And yet, unlike many other paranormal bent teen movies/books this cast can act. Pettyfer wrings all the emotional beats out of a pretty ordinary screenplay but can't ever lift it out of mediocrity. Agron is rowing hard in the same boat and also has to struggle with her arty girl character's propensity for hats. The chemistry only ever truly sparks when there is snoggage - otherwise it doesn't necessarily ring true. Callan McAuliffe does a credible job at both the American accent and finding some nuance in the sidekick role. Teresa Palmer brandishes her Australian accent and ass-kickery to fulfill the role of unexpected hot blond girl. Timothy Olyphant phones in the role with his grimaces and quirky eyebrows but still eats his co-stars up with room to spare.
The effects are passable. The stunts are impressive. Nothing can really be said other than the evil jock could not have been more cliched if they had tried. It does its job well. It crafts a tolerable story with a likeable cast and a certain visual panache.
Buy / Rent / Ignore
**If you like the idea of PSnark being a place to view YA film reviews tell me. I've been flirting with the idea as I will no longer be posting book reviews.