At first glance, Joanne Schwartzbaum (Cara Buono) is the stereotypical suburban Mom, living in a daze of grocery shopping, meal preparation and ferrying her kids to and from school. But Joanne’s malaise is caused by so much more than the drudgery of everyday life - she’s become transfixed by the design of the pastries on the bakery counter and is unaccountably fascinated by the prop lighthouse standing outside the fishmongers, and when she wakes up in the middle of the night and finds herself mesmerized by a brilliant white light only to wake up the next morning to find herself lying on her patio with no idea how she got there, Joanne begins to suspect she has been abducted by aliens. What’s more, the mysterious mark that has just appeared on her side only lends credence to Joanne’s suspicions.
After an uninspiring session with the weirdoes at a UFO support group, Joanne meets Abraham (Isaach De Bankole) who has had similar experiences and is also looking for answers. Could it have something to do with the mysterious ancient scroll that is currently being studied at the Brooklyn Museum? But what is the connection between the scroll, the lighthouse outside the fish shop, and the strange Asian guy who recently gave Abraham the finger and then seemingly disappeared into thin air after Abraham gave chase? Have Joanne and Abraham been chosen to save the world? And what does any of this have to do with extra-terrestrials?
With its cheeky b-movie title font and playful opening music, From Other Worlds should be so much more fun than it is. Unfortunately, all the promise of fun stops as soon as the story begins. It’s a shame because Cara Buono is a terrific actress whose considerable charm almost makes the film watchable, but From Other Worlds’ biggest problem is that it really doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be – a cute alien abduction comedy, a gentle satire on motherhood and the mindlessness of twenty-first century living, or a heist picture with a UFO and a spoonful of dodgy ancient history thrown in for good measure? Whatever writer / director Barry Strugatz’ original intentions were, the result is a tedious mess that not even Cara Buono and Melissa Leo (badly underused in the role of a crabby librarian) can save. One star for Buono, one star for Leo, and one star for the alien’s gag explaining why he chose to identify as Asian (the only joke that works in the entire fil)
FROM OTHER WORLDS / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: BARRY STRUGATZ / SCREENPLAY: BARRY STRUGATZ / STARRING: CARA BUONO, ISAACH DE BANKOLE, JAY OAKERSON, DAVID LANSBURY, MELISSA LEO / RELEASE DATE: 8TH FEBRUARY