Things aren’t going well on the planet Zots. The ozone is quickly disappearing and the scientists think it’s all down to too many people having strong emotions. As a result those whose love is deemed to be too big are dispatched to Earth, as it’s believe that getting involved with the human population will result in such pain and complication that it will stamp the feelings right out of them.
Zoinx, Zylar and Barr arrive on our planet with orders to get involved with humans and have their hearts broken, but cultural differences make that slightly difficult. Despite their differences, Zylar (promiscuous and sassy) and Barr (co-dependent and clutchy) fall into a relationship with each other, while Zoinx initially has more success, meeting Jane, a misfit who’s never had much luck in love. Even though Jane is interested in aliens, she doesn’t seem to realise her new girlfriend’s extra-terrestrial origins – despite Zoinx’s monotone speech, bald head, love of huge collars and apparent belief that the height of intimacy is touching another person’s nose. Although the idea is the relationship will be a source of heartache, they may be made for one another.
This parody/homage to 50s sci-fi could very easily have gone wrong. Numerous elements could have screwed things up, from the silliness of nobody realising these bald, verbally unusual women are aliens, to scenes that appear to be largely improvised and could have spoiled the flow of the movie. Indeed numerous asides to two Men In Black style agents, played by Alex Karpovsky and Dennis Davis, could have been incredibly dull, but their dysfunctional partnership turns out source of great humour.
A lot of low budget sci-fi fail because of things like the above, but whereas many of those movies come across as amateurish and dumb (despite everyone involved in them seeming to think they’re smart as hell), here they’re well thought out, smart and often very funny. Obvious care has been taken to get the aliens right – the joke that they appear to be completely emotion-less but suffer from having feelings that are too big could have fallen horribly flat but works wonderfully well. Indeed at times it’s fiendishly smart, as when they say typical human relationship things, the nasal delivery has a tendency to pick apart the truth from the exaggeration and obfuscation people engage in. The film succeeds largely due to setting up a situation that may be extremely over the top and silly, but it then plays the emotions completely straight, ensuring you get involved with the characters and caught up with what happens to them.
The relationships in particular are exceedingly sweet and despite the fact these aliens speak in a monotone fashion, you end up really hoping they find love and that humankind doesn’t bash the emotion out of them. There are some decent laughs and perhaps most impressively for a movie that was made on a shoestring, the acting is pretty good all across the board. Director Madeleine Olnek obviously had a clear vision of what she wanted to do with the films and she’s achieved it with aplomb. To be honest, when I first started watching I didn’t give it a chance of working as it seemed too over the top, but it quickly put a smile on my face, which rarely wavered.
Overall Verdict: Silly in the best of ways, this sci-fi romantic comedy takes an extreme premise and mines if for laughs and emotion. Few films will have you rooting as hard for alien and a human to get it together.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac