Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 26
  2. Negative: 4 out of 26
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    An occasionally schmaltzy but likable story of healing and redemption.
  2. And in the end, maybe the question of Dennis' origin is irrelevant. He tells David he's come to Earth to try to understand human beings, and that quest is worth a lifetime's effort -- whatever planet you call home.
  3. 75
    Cusack, of course, is the perfect Anti-Schmaltz. His rapid-fire delivery makes everything he says sound like it's just pouring from his brain to his mouth, so that even the sappiest dialogue is rendered sincere.
  4. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Knockout performances by John Cusack and child actor Bobby Coleman help legitimize a whimsical but sententiously moralizing script.
  5. Those who stick with Martian Child won't entirely avoid mush, but they will find terrific performances.
  6. Amanda Peet exudes her patented mix of charm, beauty, humor and smarts as the best friend who may become more than a friend.
  7. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    The film plot about the needy kid who redeems a male loner has been done to death, and on the surface, Martian Child just looks like another entry in the genre, a close follower to “About A Boy.”
  8. 63
    Cusack shows that he can still play the sensitive-but-fun guy until the ladies sigh and the men take notes.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    One soggy slab of sentimental uplift, but it doesn't pretend to be anything else, and there's some honor in that.
  10. Reviewed by: Gregory Kirschling
    The problem with Martian Child is that it wants to be a story about outcasts, but Dennis doesn't come off as a cute little rebel.
  11. 58
    It's hard to say what, aside from novelty, is gained by having the boy believe he's from Mars, because the core emotion in the film comes from the simple, common premise of an adoptive father and son trying to forge a life together.
  12. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    Martian Child certainly isn't much fun, unless you were desperately awaiting K-PAX with a kid instead of Kevin Spacey.
  13. In drama, and just about everything else, almost is never enough. Which is why Martian Child, about the growing bond between an adult and child, never reaches us.
  14. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Cusack makes a half-hearted attempt to connect with Coleman, but chemistry is fatally absent and small wonder: Dennis is a unsettlingly strange creature who could well be from another planet.
  15. 50
    Before long, the story's conceit -- a loud-and-clear metaphor for the ways in which we all sometimes feel alien when it comes to human relationships -- just becomes wearying.
  16. 50
    The two characters' pasts are so sketchy here that the drama lacks any serious emotional underpinning.
  17. Whatever glimmers of cleverness Martian Child offers, it all comes to Earth with a thud in the shamelessly manipulative climax.
  18. 50
    Martian Child wants to make us cry. It nearly made me gag. This is an exercise in shameless and inept emotional manipulation.
  19. 50
    The movie leaves no heartstring untugged. It even has a beloved old dog, and you know what happens to beloved old dogs in movies like this. Or if you don't, I don't have the heart to tell you.
  20. The entire cast is fully committed to this squishily sentimental tale, which is especially impressive given that it's the kind of generic dramedy you'll swear you've seen a thousand times before.
  21. At the end of Martian Child, we're told the movie is "inspired by actual events." But the movie isn't even fully inspired by David Gerrold's source novel that was inspired by actual events.
  22. Reviewed by: Toddy Burton
    Only in Hollywood can a movie about alien children be boring. Even if the kid isn’t really an alien (no spoilers), there’s still opportunity galore for the wild and the weird.
  23. Martian Child would like to be "About a Boy (Who Thinks He's a Martian)", but, disappointingly, it doesn't even come close.
  24. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    Filmed in 2005, the first of two Cusack widower flicks this season (the weepier and more indie "Grace is Gone" hits theaters in December) Martian Child is also a Franken-schmaltz monster of cobbled-together Cusack movie parts.
  25. It's off in many directions - false in its details, false in its relationships, false in its emotions - but probably the first and worst thing that needs to be said about it is that it's also overlong and dull.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 32 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. B.J.
    May 3, 2010
    The people who've canned this movie just don't - and can't - get it. for those who do, the story this movie tells is deeply The people who've canned this movie just don't - and can't - get it. for those who do, the story this movie tells is deeply touching. And, to be honest, i often wish i could be from mars, too. Full Review »
  2. francel.
    Sep 29, 2009
    Unabashedly sentimental, but unexpectedly watchable. Plus nice acting as always from the Cusack siblings.
  3. JoeB.
    Apr 30, 2009
    John Cusack is a real artist! He plays this father simply great - non-plus-ultra! He is unique and the whole story touched me to tears. A John Cusack is a real artist! He plays this father simply great - non-plus-ultra! He is unique and the whole story touched me to tears. A File for men (maybe more than for women) Greetz from Germany. Full Review »