I Am Number Four is the first in what is likely going to be a long line of Twilight wannabes. This news is especially distressing seeing how I'm not exactly a fan of the Twilight saga. Like TwilightI Am Number Four comes equipped with attractive stars, plain characters, underwhelming dialog and a plot that never progresses. To the film's credit, though, it isn't quite as bad as any of the three Twilightscreen adaptations. But that's really not saying much.

The Edward Cullen of I Am Number Four is John, a hunky alien with the appearance of a human played by newcomer Alex Pettyfer. John is one of nine aliens who have been sent to Earth to hide from the Mogadorians, another alien species that look like Lord Voldemort, a Klingon and Dren from Splice mixed in a blender then draped in black coats. The Mogadorians are bent on destroying the nine. The movie never really explains why. I suppose it's because they're apprehensive of the extraordinary powers the nine possess. But isn't that basically like attacking a beehive out of fear of getting stung by a bee? Why don't these aliens just live and let live?

John has been moving from town to town all of his life with Henri, his protector played by Timothy Olyphant. Their travels take them to Paradise, Ohio, where John meets a lovely girl named Sarah, played by the charming Dianna Agron from Glee. Sarah is sweet, has a great smile, enjoys taking pictures and that's essentially all the character development she is allowed. She is instantly drawn to this bruiting and ever so bland new kid on the block. Only after knowing each other for two days and having roughly three conversations, she's already telling John, "I can't stop thinking about you." Isn't it amazing how swiftly women fall unconditionally and irrevocably in love with men in these kinds of movies?

The supporting cast includes Jake Abel as a schoolyard bully, an exaggerated caricature that's becoming all too common in movies. Here Abel overdoes it with a constant smile on his face that makes him look like Jack Nicholson's Joker. There's also Callan McAuliffe as Sam, a whippy science fiction geek that believes aliens abducted his father. These are all talented actors. It's just a shame that they aren't given well-rounded characters to work with. You know that your movie's in trouble when the character you care about the most is a transforming dog.

The action sequences feel as if the audience is watching somebody else play a video game. Most of the people often look like blatant CGI images as they run, jump and fight. By the time the film's less than epic climax arises you nearly expect the screen to read, "Press ‘A' button."

I Am Number Four sets us up for a possible sequel, which I'm less than enthusiastic about. I can only hope that this first installment was just the exposition. Maybe the sequel will truly elaborate on these characters and delve into the extraordinary world these aliens came from. This story could have potential to be a winning franchise if only it had greater aspirations other than to be the stepchild of Twilight.

Nick Spake is a college student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for five years, reviewing movies on his website, NICKPICKSFLICKS.com. Reach him at nspake@asu.edu.

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