“Martian Child” –
John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Bobby Coleman
For recently widowed celebrated scifi author (John Cusack) his path to finding his way back from grief and loneliness is to adopt a young boy (Bobby Coleman) who just doesn’t fit in, determined to claim he is from Mars and only visiting this planet to learn about humanoids. It is a well made match and Cusack is able to share the magical and trying story in his writing to the chagrin of his agent (Platt) and publisher (brilliant cameo by Angelica Huston).
The stage is set, of course, in Los Angeles. Cusack has a divine home in the hills, very Frank Lloyd Wright in look and sensibility. His sister plays well his sister who is completely against his adopting as a single parent. Fortunately Harlee (Peet) is his late wife’s best friend and regularly comes to the rescue. Sparks fly but briefly, long enough to make us consider a sequel . . . The Chronicles of Dracoban? Yes, there is a happy ending so to speak, but it is not as trite and pat as most and the cast is very good.
Surprising that the lead minor got such short shrift in the credits. Cusack shines as the quirky writer, not entirely comfortable with his success and not willing to sell out to keep it. Joan is getting trapped in “perfect Mommy” roles, she’ll need to break out soon or risk a very promising career. Peet is lovely, and this is first time she really carries off the role, however supporting. Platt is amusing, a bit big for such a small role. Huston stole it in the cameo!