I'm a big fan of movies about grown-ups and children reaching across the age barrier and getting along with one another. I am also a big fan of movies about adults who happen to have siblings of the opposite gender. (There are lots of movies about adult brothers, and lots of movies about adult sisters, but very few about men and their sisters, or about women and their brothers.) And I can even remember how, when I was seven years old, I spent a day or two telling people that I was actually from Mars, and that the rocket which brought me was buried beneath a swing in a nearby park. So a movie like Martian Child—starring real-life siblings John and Joan Cusack as fictitious siblings, one of whom is thinking of adopting a boy who claims to have come from the Red Planet—ought to be a real treat, right? Alas, it isn't, quite.
The premise does have potential, though. John Cusack plays David, a widower whose wife wanted a family; now that she is gone, he thinks he should adopt a child and make his late wife's dream come true. He can literally afford to look after a child all by himself, because he is a best-selling science-fiction author, and Sophie (Sophie Okenedo), the social worker he turns to for advice, suggests that he take a look at Dennis (Bobby Coleman)—a six-year-old who has been through so many foster homes that, as a defense mechanism, he insists he is visiting from another planet and has come to Earth to study human beings and their ways. Perhaps David, with his sci-fi background, can connect with Dennis and bring him out of his shell.
It may or may not help that David himself was "weird" when he was young, at least according to his sister Liz (Joan Cusack), who has children of her own and often takes ...1
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