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By STEVE PERSALL, Times Film Critic

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 27, 2001

Imagination sucked dry by aliens!

Imagination sucked dry by aliens!

Evolution (PG-13)

An alien organism reaches Earth on a meteor, threatening the human race. Director Ivan Reitman turns the idea into a Ghostbusters rip-off with loads of special effects and a dearth of imagination. David Duchovny coasts on his X-Files persona as a college professor, Orlando Jones mimics Chris Tucker and Seann William Scott's (American Pie 2) attempts at acting are more frightening than any of the space creatures.

First impressions: "Good thing that Charles Darwin never applied his theory of evolution to comedy. In the case of Ivan Reitman, Darwin would be wrong. It's painful to watch a creator of such comic gems as Animal House, Stripes and Ghostbusters regressing, and being so cavalier about it, as Reitman does with Evolution. There aren't any genuine jokes, only wiseacre attitudes and anal probes. There's no suspense, no countdown to Armageddon, just a barrage of icky computer doodles without personality, squirming and leaping into the camera for cheap shocks."

Second thoughts: Never gave it one until now.

Rental audience: Easy-to-please science fiction fans.

Rent it if you enjoy: The notion of Ghostbusters 7.

Two Can Play That Game (R)

Vivica A. Fox stars as a woman whose boyfriend (Morris Chestnut) has been cheating on her. She devises a set of rules, shared with the audience, about how to handle such a philanderer. Anthony Anderson (Me, Myself & Irene) has the unenviable job of adding necessary comic relief to what is supposed to be a comedy.

First impressions: "There's no winning with Two Can Play That Game, a low-rent Waiting to Exhale that wages the battle of the sexes with precious little ingenuity and even less charm, despite the efforts of an appealing ensemble led by Fox. The directorial debut of screenwriter Mark Brown relies heavily on the cutesy device of having its lead character talk directly into the camera at every given opportunity. It gets real old, real fast." (Michael Rechtstaffen, The Hollywood Reporter)

Second thoughts: Did this one really open in theaters?

Rental audience: Def comedy junkies.

Rent it if you enjoy: The Brothers, How to Be a Player.

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