Directed by D.J. Caruso – and adapted by Alfred Gough, Miles Miller and Marti Noxon – I Am Number Four is new teen-based sci-fi adventure film based on the best-selling novel by Pittacus Lore.
Extraordinary teen John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him. Changing his identity, moving from town to town with his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant), John is always the new kid with no ties to his past.
In the small Ohio town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events – his first love (Dianna Agron), powerful new abilities, and a connection to the others who share his incredible destiny.
The first two thirds of the film are irritating, evoking scenes from any pointless high school drama series you’d care to waste your time naming. It’s a bland, and all-too smooshy opening, one that drags on for an unrelenting amount of time.
Thankfully, but ultimately much too late, the third act pushes the saccharine romance to one side and hits a higher point with the arrival of Number Six (Teresa Palmer), a deadpan snarker in black leather, who unites with Number Four to defend their species from the invading Mogadorians, wrecking a path of carnage as they release their newfound supernatural powers.
Alex Pettyfer, in his second attempt to hit the big time, makes for a satisfactory lead, but ultimately feels out of his depth, never quite encapsulating Number Four to the extend needed to hold viewers’ attention.
Dianna Agron is good enough in the role of Number Four’s eternal soulmate, but she doesn’t have the experience, or solid-enough source material, to elevate her character to a higher level.
The special effects are competent, but nothing exceptional, and fail bring the intriguing subject matter, and life-altering final battle to life.
The soundtrack, and use of songs from pop bands The xx to King of Leon, feels bizarre and enervating, never contributing or highlight anything of importance in the film.
I Am Number Four is a pedestrian, poorly executed and badly cast supernatural thriller that tries hard, but ultimately fails to connect.