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Film / My Favorite Martian

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And to think, eight years ago, Christopher Lloyd was in Daniels' shoes...

My Favorite Martian is a 1999 science fiction comedy film directed by Donald Petrie, starring Christopher Lloyd and Jeff Daniels. It is based on the 1960s sitcom of the same name, though expands on the original show.

The film is about a Martian named Martin (Lloyd) who, along with Zoot, his talking suit (Wayne Knight) gets stranded on Earth. Being taken in by reporter Tim O'Hara (Daniels), they must try to find a way to get Martin home while avoiding the government operation SETI from capturing him and doing what the government does best.

The film was released in theaters along with an animated short starring Pluto called Pluto Gets the Paper: Spaceship.

This film provides examples of:

  • 90% of Your Brain: Martin claims that Martians use 100% of their brain capacity, which is the source of his powers like Super-Intelligence, telekinesis and Invisibility while humans use less than 10% of their own minds.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The movie introduced new characters (Lizzie, Brace, and Zoot) as well as several new pieces of Martian technology. The most notable would be "nerplex," or Martian gum that changes the appearance of whoever is chewing it (which is how Martin can appear as a human).
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Rather than just humans with antennas, the true form of the Martians is creepy Insectoid Aliens.
  • Alien Catnip: Ice cream turns out to be intoxicating for Martians. After Martin tries it for the first time, he loses control of himself and telekinetically gorges on several scoops. He even has the equivilant of a hangover that afternoon.
    Martin: One scoop's too many but a million aren't enough!
  • Bait-and-Switch: Zoot at one point seems smitten with a human woman in a clothing store, but it's quickly shown his attraction is to the dress she was holding.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Lizzie, full stop. When Tim is beset by a pair of SETI guards at the climax, the usually shy and meek Lizzie doesn't hesitate to use the Veenox 7 nerplex to turn into a ferocious alien monster and save him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the end of the film, Lizzie uses the Veenox 7 nerplex to rescue Tim from the SETI guards.
  • Big Eater: Tim takes Martin to an ice cream shop. Although initially wary of Earth food, Martin proceeds to consume all of the ice cream.
  • Black-Hole Belly: When Lizzie takes out the Veenox 7 nerplex and transforms back into a human, she in no way looks like she had just swallowed a man whole ten seconds ago.
  • Blowing a Raspberry:
    • Zoot blows a raspberry (without any lips or tongue) at Tim in their initial scuffle.
    • When a little boy takes a piece of nerplex and refuses to give it back, he blows a raspberry at Uncle Martin. Martin responds by sticking out his own very unusual tongue, scaring the boy away and recovering the nerplex.
  • Brainless Beauty: Brace is sufficiently dim she has to be drip fed her on-air lines through an earpiece.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of the film, Zoot settles down into the washing machine with a copy of Victoria's Secret magazine. He then looks to the audience and says, "You people know how to live!"
  • Burp of Finality: Lizzie uses some alien tech to turn into an alien monster and take out two thugs beating up Tim. After gulping one of them down whole she lets out a loud burp, complete with an embarrassed look afterward.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Veenox 7 gum, which turns whoever chews it into a large, powerful, man-eating monster.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Uncle Martin brings up a brilliant Martian scientist named Nenurt who came to Earth in the 60's and was never seen again. He believes he was captured by humans and died as their lab experiment. One of the government officials who discovers Martin turns out to be Nenurt in disguise, having been waiting for another Martian to come to Earth so he could hitch a ride home.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Tim complains how Martin was asleep for about 30 seconds, Martin marvels about it, claiming he must've been tired to sleep for that long.
  • Cultural Posturing: Martin provides several examples of Martians being more advanced than humans ("Your astronauts pee in their space suits. Case closed!"). Later subverted when it turns out that the alternator from Tim's car will double as an "electron accelerator" to fix his spaceship.
  • Disney Death: Martin gets one at the end when he dies to an adverse reaction to the Big Bad's tranquilizer, and Zoot gets one after getting shot twice by one of the security guards. By getting Zoot onto Martin, Zoot activates a Healing Factor that saves both of them.
  • Did You Geta New Haircut?: Tim asks Lizzie if she did something to her hair when he sees her transformed into a giant Veenox 7 alien. More of a joke than being completely oblivious to her change,as he had just watched her devour a man whole in her alien form.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Martin is changing into new clothes, the argument he has with Zoot sounds an like a 'leaving you for another woman' type of break-up.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Lizzie reacts rather violently towards Tim when she finds Brace in his house.
  • Dumb Blonde: Inverted; the dumb one in this case is brunette Brace Channing, and blonde Lizzie is the smart one.
  • Eaten Alive: The fate of a SETI thug, when faced with a pissed-off and transformed Lizzie.
  • Evil Brit: Brace Channing is a selfish, manipulative woman with an English accent due to having grown up in English boarding schools.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: One of the thugs Lizzie deals with is thrown across the room into some computer equipment, which explodes into sparks on impact.
  • Fan Disservice: The Dirty Old Man in the video making his pecs dance to "Hot Hot Hot".
  • Feigning Intelligence: Brace Channing.
    Martin (after turning himself into Brace): "Boy, her head was dark and empty."
  • Forced Transformation: Coleye ends up being permanently transformed into an alien near the end of the film, when he accidentally swallows a piece of Nerplex.
  • Foreshadowing: When Tim and Martin are in the dressing room, the latter tells him about a dangerous nerplex, called the Veenox 7. Lizzie later uses the Veenox 7 to transform into an alien to rescue Tim.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: Zoot seems to have more knowledge about Earth than Martin. He calls Tim "Tiger Woods" when swinging a golf club around and while hiding under Tim's couch says, "Hey, look! Jimmy Hoffa!"
  • Green Aesop: Martin's parting words to Tim include reminding him to take care of the Earth's oceans. Although this may be justified by the fact that Martin was completely blown away that Earth even has them, given that "on Mars, all the water has to be squeezed from rocks!"
  • Hard Head: The guard Tim hits over the head with a fire extinguisher seems to be entirely unaffected.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Uncle Martin doesn't have a high opinion of Earth or humanity at the start of the film, but the longer he stays on the planet and interacts with Tim, the more he starts to embrace his own emotions and see the beauty around him. He finally realises something is up when he seduces Mrs. Brown to get the ship back.
    Martin: Feelings for an Earth woman? I need to get off this planet.
  • I Choose to Stay: With the spaceship fixed and some time after flying off, Tim and Lizzie see the rental return to Tim's house. Uncle Marvin comes out carrying Martian suitcases and announces that he'd grown so close to Tim and come to admire Earth that he and Zoot decided to move in with Tim while Nenert goes home to Mars.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Zoot gets worried about the repairs and tries to calm down with a glass of laundry detergent. When they discover the I.S.S., Zoot chugs the entire container.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: While feeding lines to Brace, Tim accidentally causes her to say "God, you're beautiful" to the NASA captain she's interviewing.
  • Jerkass: Brace and her father are often jerks to Tim.
  • Large Ham: Martin and Zoot.
  • Living Clothes: Martin has a full dancing suit named Zoot.
  • Losing Your Head: Martin literally falls apart when he goes into "Martian depression."
  • Magic Pants: Lizzie chews the Veenox 7 gum and transforms into a giant tentacled alien, but her dress and shoes fit her new form perfectly, despite her being several sizes larger. When she changes back into a human, her outfit only has minor damages.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body:
    • Not directly stated, but there are implications that Nerplex does simply more than alters one's physical appearance into another being. The most notable incident is when Lizzie chews the Veenox 7 gum, and seems to have no problem with killing one guard, and eating another while as that alien. This even seemed to carry over when the person reverts back to being human. Though this may only be trait specific to Veenox 7, which would explain why Martin was so heedful when mentioning it.
    • Martin's molecular identity abilty taps into the subconscious of who he's disguising himself as. This is why he felt it alright to kiss Lizzie while disguised as Tim because Tim was unknowingly infatuated with Lizzie. He also makes mention on his experience with Brace's mind (or lack thereof).
  • Missed Him by That Much: The opening of the movie shows the failure of the Mars rover just before it would have shown footage of the Martian society.
  • Monster Roommate: Martin himself to Tim. At the end of the film, Martin decides to move in with Tim for good.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Martin is forced to take on Tim's form early in the movie and kisses his friend Lizzie to distract her. The reason he thought it was okay to kiss Lizzie is because transforming into Tim involved Martin seeing into Tim's subconscious and learning about his hidden feelings for her. Martin later helps Tim realize that he and Lizzie are more than Just Friends.
  • Mythology Gag: Ray Walston (the original Uncle Martin) is an undercover martian. And he even says the shapeshifting gum lost its flavor in 1966 (the year the show got cancelled).
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Tim claims he likes Lizzie's transformed man-eating alien form.
    Tim: I think I liked you better the other way.
    Lizzie: (imitating her alien voice) Oh, reall y? Well, that can be arranged!
  • Not Hyperbole: After discovering the I.S.S. and realizing he could soon die, Martin sinks into a "Martian Depression" and tells Tim he's falling apart. Tim insists that he isn't, only to pull Martin's arm clean off.
    Martin: On Mars, when we get depressed, we literally fall apart!
  • Not What It Looks Like: When Tim's Landlady catches him spying on Martin with a video camera (to record his alien form) while he's playing in the hot tub.
    Ms. Brown: Tim, what are you doing up there?
    Tim: My uncle Martin's in the hot tub and I'm...watching.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Tim eats the nerplex and discovers that it is already transforming him into an alien.
    • When Martin discovers the I.S.S. on the spaceship.
    • When Martin is disguised as Brace and is forced to spit out the gum that makes him resemble a human.
    • When Lizzie shows up in her alien form, both Tim and the thug who'd been beating him up have this reaction.
  • One-Winged Angel: A heroic example, is Lizzie when Tim is being beaten up by two guards. In an attempt to save him, she chews the martian gum and transforms herself into a giant, green, reptile/squid alien.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Apparently, "blotz" is a direct Martian translation for "shit"... as in "Does a wild bear blotz in the woods?"
  • Pec Flex: Hilariously done by a senior citizen.
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology: Tim's alternator is exactly the right size and shape (and function) to double as the electron accelerator Martin needs to repair his ship.
  • Power-Up Food: Nerplex, Martian chewing gum that makes whoever chews it mutate to have the outward appearance of the alien lifeform the gum is based on.
  • Race Against the Clock: It's revealed at the half way point that Martin's rental vehicle has a powerful explosive inside that activated when he crash landed. If he doesn't get the spaceship flying again within a certain amount of time, it will detonate.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: Between Lizzie and Zoot when they first meet.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Veenox Seven is a brand of nerplex that Martin explicitly warns Tim to never mess with. It's a black ball covered in spikes with a red X over the body. The warning is sound when Lizzie chews the nerplex and turns into a rampaging, man-eating alien monster.
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: Tim tries to tell his neighbor that his visitor is really a Martian, but she mishears him saying "Martin". Martin quickly capitalizes on the mistake, and interrupts Tim's uhs with uncle. Thus, Uncle Martin.
  • Screaming Woman: Gender inverted with a screaming man. One of the SETI guards lets out a big, long scream right before Lizzie gulps him down.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Martin's rental ship is armed with an I.S.S., a powerful explosive that armed itself after the crash landing. It's meant to keep martian technology out of alien hands if it can't be recovered. It can only be deactivated by flying the ship out of the planet's orbit, turning the need to repair the ship into a Race Against the Clock.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Zoot first pulls himself off of Martin to fight Tim, he proclaims, "It's alive!"
    • While fighting a pair of security guards, Zoot calls one of them "one of the Spice Girls" and then after beating one says, "Beavis down, Butt-Head to go."
    • The design for the alien monster Lizzie turns into near the end of the film is actually based on the "monster from The Id" from Forbidden Planet.
  • Skyward Scream: Dr. Coleye does this during his Evil Laugh.
  • Spoiled Brat: Brace Channing. Her father is the head of the news station she works for and he sets up everything to give her the limelight.
  • Stealth Pun: The Martian researcher's full name is Elliot Coleye (E. Coleye).
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Tim tries to tell Mrs. Brown that his visitor is a Martian, she mishears it as "Martin". The Martian jumps on that mistake as his alias and further turns Tim's stuttering ("uh-uh-") into "uncle". Thus, Uncle Martin.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Not only that was top secret, but it never happened!"
  • Take That!: Martin's parting words inform Tim and Lizzie that Earth cannot advance unless they take care of their oceans or cancel all daytime talk shows.
  • That Poor Cat: Heard towards the end when Martin lands his spaceship at Tim's driveway.
  • Transformation Discretion Shot: Lizzie uses the Veenox 7 nerplex gum to save Tim from the guards. However, it cuts away from her after she puts it in her mouth, with her reappearing onscreen when she grabs one of the guards with her tentacles.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Zoot can alter his form to match the biology of whatever's wearing him, increasing or decreasing the number of sleeves he has or expanding to accommodate breasts.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lizzie during her time as an alien monster after chewing on Veenox 7 gum. During her time as the monster, she apparently had no problem swallowing a SETI guard whole, even though he was defenseless and running for his life. The fact that the incident is never brought up again afterwards is jarring.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Zoot is unimpressed with the security guard who squares up to him with bare knuckles.
    Zoot: Boxing? You should be boxing groceries.