Uneven and unfocused, but has some inspired silliness.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

What parents need to know


Comic peril, some gross-out moments.


Mild references.


Some strong language and gross potty humor.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking


Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has some strong language and very raunchy toilet humor, with two extended sequences featuring rectal probes. There's sexual humor and mild sexual situations. Characters drink and smoke. Characters are in sci-fi peril, mostly comic. Guns and shooting are equated with manliness. A woman shoplifts and another holds up a sign that says "I can't die a virgin." Female and black characters are smart, brave, and accomplished, and inter-racial colleagues have a strong friendship. But there's an unpleasant joke about how all a female character needs is "a good humping," and, to make things worse, she overhears the comment and is insulted not because it is sexist but because it implies that she is not sexual.

What's the story?

In EVOLUTION, community college professors Ira (David Duchovney) and Harry (Orlando Jones) discover that a mysterious meteor is covered with one-celled alien creatures who can accomplish evolutionary development in days that took millions of years on earth. They try to keep it to themselves, hoping for fame and fortune. But the government steps in and takes over. A nasty general and a beautiful doctor named Allison (Julianne Moore) are now in charge. Dan Ackroyd plays the governor who is willing to nuke his state to get rid of the aliens. With the help of a would-be fireman (Seann William Scott) and some overweight students with dandruff-free hair, Ira and Harry manage to save the world.

Is it any good?


Evolution never really takes off. There are some good moments, though, and moments of inspired silliness, like Duchovney and Jones singing "Play That Funky Music White Boy." Jones gives so much zest to weak material that one longs to see him in something better. But neither the sci-fi nor the comedy are strong enough to sustain the movie.

No one expects or even wants a movie like this to make sense, but it is so sloppy that it is actually distracting. And even the good guys are not that good, caring more about credit and getting out of Arizona than about science or protecting people from the aliens. It is interesting how often someone in the movie tells someone else to focus -- that would have been good advice for the director and screenwriter.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about evolution and natural selection, and about how Ira got in to trouble and how he reacted to it. Why didn't he care more about his job? What would happen if aliens did come to Earth?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 8, 2001
DVD release date:December 26, 2001
Cast:David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott
Director:Ivan Reitman
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:crude and sexual humor, and for sci-fi action

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008


Great parody about evolution in a scifi setting
Adult Written byForknose April 9, 2008

The Truth is Out There

It was like watching the Brady Bunch episode of X-Files. Funny and with aliens!
Teen, 17 years old Written byzacpb19 August 21, 2012

Some rude bits but nothing a 12 year old couldn't see

I watched this when I was 9 and loved it even if I didn't get all the jokes I found it really funny and I would say this movie is fine for 12+ some parts may freak a child out but none of those parts are meant to be really scary its just meant to be funny and taken lightly. Some of the langeage is a bit to much for a movie thats rated PG but nothing bad. Fun film. It is sexual sometimes I will say but nothing a 12/13 year old will take notice off.
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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