The movie is about David (John Cusak), a famous science-fiction writer and recent widower. In an effort to carry on after the death of his wife, David looks into domestically adopting a six-year-old boy. David is a bit strange, declaring in an interview that he always saw himself as the aliens he wrote about in his books, rather than the humans. Dennis (Bobby Coleman) is a bit strange as well. He believes he is from Mars and is only visiting Earth for a while but will be shipped back later. He spends the majority of his time at the orphanage in a box, protecting himself from what he perceives as the Earth's harmful ultraviolet rays. At first, David is hesitant to adopt wondering who is he - a single male - to take on such a responsibility. When David finds that Dennis is a bit strange like him, he decides to adopt him. Cuteness and hilarity ensues.
It was hard for me to watch this movie and not say "yeah but" a whole bunch. The process that my family and I went through to adopt my daughter, and the process that we're continuing to go through is filled with such highs and lows that I don't know that it ever could be communicated in a two hour movie (actually one hour and forty-eight minutes). Or more importantly that it should be communicated at all. And certainly not for "ain't that cute" moments. Midway through the movie Dennis performs a strange alien-like dance in the living room of David's house. At first, David finds it odd, but soon he joins in. I could hear the sighs and the giggles at how adorable the scene was, but I just couldn't join in. Dennis was a six year-old boy who had been abandoned and abused and it was obvious that he was in serious trouble. He had assumed the role of the Martian Child because it protected him from everyone else. He chose not to belong so he wouldn't have to. In short, Dennis is a deeply troubled boy and I don't believe that's fodder for entertainment. If Hollywood wants to document the process of adopting and the rewards and risks associated with that, I'm perfectly fine with that. But do it without a soundtrack that includes Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr Blue Sky" and without American Sweethearts, Serendipity John Cusak and the oh-so-easy-on-the-eyes Amanda Peet.
And aside from all that, the movie just wasn't very good.