Despite a charming Jacob Buster and 80s sci-fi family film nostalgia, Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out hardly builds up enough goodwill to look past black-hole-sized plot holes and lazy storytelling.
We review the film Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out, which does not contain spoilers.
I cannot tell you how overrated the Sundance Film Festival family film Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out really is. I imagine all the praise the film receives is based on a festival glow that intoxicates some. The script offers no human reason to care for the characters. Why? Because simply none of them acts like a real-life human being. That squarely sits on the shoulders of director Jake Van Wagoner, who lets Austin Everett‘s script meander in cliches and character discernment.
Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out Review and Plot Summary
The film’s story tells the story of Calvin (Thomas Cummins). He is a senior in a small country town who lost his parents a year prior. We see him with his family as a young child looking at the stars with his father, Cyrus (Will Forte). They see a comet streaking across the sky. Suddenly, after Calvin runs into the house with his space suit, something lands in their yard, and he hears his father call out his name. Calvin runs into the yard and finds nothing but a cold, dark night sky. His parents, including his mother Vera (Elizabeth Mitchell), are gone and nowhere to be found.
A decade passes, and a new family with a moody new teenager moves into town. Her name is Itsy (Emma Tremblay), and she is not happy leaving the big city. She immediately feels a connection with Calvin (now played by Let the Right One In‘s Jacob Buster), who is now a high school senior and an outcast like herself. Calvin is now living with his grandmother. He is brilliant but is every teacher’s thorn in their side. Why? Because he constantly questions their intelligence and lesson plans, albeit in a disarming way.
However, Itsy soon finds out why Calvin is the proverbial elephant in any room he walks into — he believes aliens took his parents. Soon, an ambitious school paper editor approaches Itsy about getting close to Calvin. She offers her an opportunity to coauthor an exposé that could get her noticed by colleges with accredited writing programs. If she gets close to Calvin, she must report what she finds in her investigation. However, when this aspiring journalist uncovers the truth, will she choose her ambition or loyalty to her new friend?
It’s a shame the film squandered such a fun and exciting premise. When you combine this type of story with a coming-of-age tale, you have the qualities of a top-flight family film that’s rare in Hollywood nowadays. The problem is that the script is filled with narrative or character action plot holes covered with eye-rolling tropes, overly-used music montages, and an overt quirkiness. No school officials find it odd that no one has talked to Calvin’s grandmother since his parents left? The fact the kid cannot do fractions yet still is a savant at precalculus?
The most glaring is how the script bypasses pure common sense. For example, Itsy’s parents act as if they are a couple of high school teenagers. They encourage their daughter in alarming ways. This makes me wonder when the school social worker should be contacted. The most glaring is a significant plot development before the third act. Interaction between family members is puzzling and inauthentic. Why would anyone reacquainted with a family member not ask essential questions that would naturally come up in conversation? Not to mention, how is Itsy able to uncover so much in a short time that Calvin could have quickly done with a simple google search?
Is Aliens Abducted My Parents, and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out good?
While Jacob Buster is charming in the role, the film hardly builds up enough goodwill to look past the humungous plot holes and lazy storytelling, no matter how much 80s science family film nostalgia Jake Van Wagoner tries to distract his audience with.
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