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Mars Attacks

Every reason this movie should work betrays it. Taking a cue from his madcap profile of B-movie horror director Ed Wood, Tim Burton tries his insurgent hand with an ultra-silly black comedy about a Martian invasion. Fun, no? He even enlists the noir-loving Jack Nicholson to play both president and Las Vegas casino owner (Martians have a thing for Vegas). No luck. Part of the problem is the invaders themselves, acrylic slime-balls with exploding heads who leave the busybody humans flummoxed.

Burton’s all-star cast (Annette Bening, Glen Close, Pierce Brosnan, Pam Grier, et al) is so busy with wisecracks and dodging incineration that the story evolves into a parody of a parody, easier to mock than laugh at. It’s good example of decent intentions gone south; a movie that not only pretends to be bad, but also is. Maybe the ghost of Ed Wood got to Burton. You might want to see this with Spielberg’s “War of Worlds” as two ways of approaching the ongoing “Mars Problem”…