Movie Review: I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four (2011) | ★☆☆☆☆

I Am Number Four, a sci-fi thriller about a teenager with extraordinary abilities, is cringe-worthy and predictable. The film's recycled plot may be attractive to a specific demographic, but abysmal special effects and an uncreative execution make it difficult to sit through.

John Smith, played by Alex Pettyfer, is the new kid in town. He's tall, mysterious and has a chiseled six-pack. He also happens to be an alien.

John is one of nine alien teenagers who escape to Earth after the alien race's home planet is destroyed. The Mogadorians, a guild of enemy aliens that destroyed John's home planet, are searching for John and the other alien teens and hunting them down one by one in a predetermined order. All nine hold special powers that start to emerge in adolescence, and each is given a protector to help them evade the Mogadorians. At the movie's outset, three of the teens have already been killed, and John is fourth on the list.

The movie's first flaw is the explanation of the premise. Instead of being presented gradually in order to build suspense, the entire foundation of the plot is hastily explained through a voice-over in the first ten minutes.

On his first day of high school, John meets Sarah Hart, played by "Glee" star Dianna Agron. Sarah is an avid photographer intrigued by John's mysterious personality.

The best scene in the movie is the dinner scene between John, Sarah and her family. Sarah's parents, played by Cooper Thornton and Judith Hoag, are quirky and realistic characters, and their exchanged banter feels refreshingly natural. It's a rather sweet scene that unfortunately lasts only a few minutes.

Apart from that one scene, the film is filled with cheesy and predictable dialogue. Though the acting and editing aren't mind-blowing to begin with, the unoriginality of the script is the film's greatest weakness.

I Am Number Four is essentially a carbon copy of every teen movie you've ever seen before with arbitrary influences from the science fiction genre thrown into the mix. The movie starts with the Twilight formula of a brooding romance between an innocent girl and a boy with a secret, adds the clichéd quarterback who bullies the loveable nerd and the young star and tops everything off with a kick-ass Australian chick that delivers snazzy slogans like, "You're good with your hands."

The fact that the film borrows so heavily from other films isn't even the biggest offense. Ultimately, the movie fails because it doesn't do anything new or creative with these familiar elements.

The movie ends with a cliffhanger, possibly hinting at a future sequel. I honestly hope that subsequent films are not produced. Could you imagine the next installment, aptly titled, I Am Number Five? Maybe Sarah will meet Bella Swan from Twilight and they can comfort each other about having supernatural and misunderstood boyfriends.