Smacking of the same sappiness that pervades an "Afterschool Special," THE GIRL FROM MARS fudges its simple premise: could a mixed-up teen actually be an interplanetary visitor?
Troubled by the death of her mom, intense 13-year-old Dee Dee Putnam (Sarah Sawatsky) gets a reputation as a high-school weirdo due to her obsession with extra-terrestrial life. When not visiting her scientist pal Charles (Eddie Albert) at the observatory, she attempts to electronically
communicate with Mars.
Neglected by her loving father Dan (Edward Albert), who's running for local office on an ecological platform, Dee Dee disrupts the school study period with a homemade flying saucer accidentally launched in the library. In trying to prevent school bullies Earl (Lochlyn Monro) and Wayne (Jeremy
Radick) from interrupting her dad's press conference, she causes a worse hubbub as mice get loose in full view of out-of-town media. Then, Charles fails to support, with his research findings, Dan's crusade to save the endangered white owl. Now Dee Dee truly feels as if she doesn't belong on
Earth. Branded a misfit, she shaves her head. As hostility toward her builds, Dee Dee's heretofore untapped telekinetic powers emerge. It seems to fellow students that she really could be from outer space.
Misunderstood, Dee Dee rigs the screen at the local drive-in so she can appear and condemn the startled townspeople in full space drag before flying away in a flimsy spaceship. Although she insists she's a Martian, earthbound Dee Dee only travels far enough to locate the last remaining white owls.
Armed with this information, Dee Dee can save her dad's campaign. Validated by proving her usefulness to the community, she rethinks her identity as "the girl from Mars."
Brimming with touching moments, THE GIRL FROM MARS isn't artful enough in playing its guessing game about Dee Dee's possibly alien homeland. This tale of alien-ation expects patient viewers to admire Dee Dee's ingenuity and spunk, even while the script mines her increasingly bizarre antics for
Losing credibility, the film escalates Dee Dee's reliance on space lingo and Martian regalia without coming to terms with the neuroses behind these episodes. Although it fails to fully appreciate its protagonist's hurtful dilemma, this coming-of-age film is adeptly acted by Sawatsky, who
sensitively explores the downside of teenage fantasy life. What we remember from the movie isn't the adolescent's ultimate resignation to normalcy, but this ugly duckling's defiant pain at never connecting with others. (Violence.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: NR
- Review: Smacking of the same sappiness that pervades an "Afterschool Special," THE GIRL FROM MARS fudges its simple premise: could a mixed-up teen actually be an interplanetary visitor? Troubled by the death of her mom, intense 13-year-old Dee Dee Putnam (Sarah S… (more)