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Martian Child 

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Menno Meyjes' slightly off-beat and low-key dramedy concerns a widower (John Cusack) who seeks to adopt a deeply troubled little boy (Bobby Coleman) who believes he's from Mars. Frequently, the film manages to be endearing without overplaying its hand. Cusack is especially winning -- he might be the grown-up version of the earnest smitten outsider he so perfectly defined in 1989 's Say Anything. He's got good support from sibling Joan Cusack (playing his sister, natch) and Amanda Peet (whose sensitive, beautiful nerd character may be too good to be true, but I want to believe). Thus, I was disappointed that the film chose to resolve its tough but realistic day-to-day struggles with last-reel of plot cheats lifted from any Very Special Episode.

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