Here's the bad omen I got while sitting in the theater waiting for Charlie Sheen's new movie to start. For no apparent reason, this odd-looking blond woman sitting in front of me swings her mop around and asks me where I got my tickets. Given that this was a free sneak preview, I leaned to the left lest she try to suck out my brain with some hidden appendage. After I told her I was a film critic she bellowed out proudly: "I got my tickets at the UFO conference." This was scarier than anything in the film.
Turns out "The Arrival" is a paranoid, UFO-fanatic's wet dream. SETI researcher Zane Ziminski (Charlie Sheen) spends the entirety of the film running around screaming how aliens have been sending signals to Earth. When he actually finds some aliens, his psychosis becomes reality and his lifelong geekiness is suddenly an achievement. "Look! I discovered alien life and saved humankind from annihilation. I told everybody those Star Trek Conferences would pay off someday."
When director David Twohy realizes his film isn't going anywhere he starts up with all these amateurish, implausible elements that snowball into disaster. For instance, after Zane is fired he sets up a $100,000 lab in his attic (with money that's growing on the tree outside his house). In order to explain how all the equipment works, Twohy introduces the curious black kid-next-door who asks Zane question after question. Here's the despicable message: "if the stupid black kid can understand it, so can you."
Eventually the movie becomes a farce. The best moments? I liked the part where Zane gets into the trunk of a VW Bug while an alien stands right in front of it. I also liked the fact that most of the aliens are in Mexico. What a deceptive argument for immigration restrictions.
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