Species (1995)

I grew up watching “Species” once in a while because it was always available in the cheap-rentals bin at the local video store, but it never really occurred to me just how unintentionally hilarious it is. Mind you, the concept itself is fascinating: An alien species communicates its DNA coding via some transmissions picked up by SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), which is replicated by scientists with little-to-no thought-through, and the resulting half-human half-alien hybrid breaks free and wreaks havoc on Los Angeles while trying to find a suitable mate. All of it sounds pretty good (not to mention an impressive cast that includes Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker and Alfred Molina), only to end up as a featherweight Cinemax-level softcore porn that just happens to have A-list funds. Really, there’s nothing to this movie: I mean, it’s about an alien that’s super horny, and a bunch of pudgy middle-aged men (and poor Marg Helgenberger) chasing after her across Los Angeles to prevent her from giving birth to any offspring. There’s almost constant (and aggressively gratuitous) female nudity throughout the movie and director Roger Donaldson doesn’t seem interested in any female characters unless they’re either going to have sex or die a violent death, so this may as well be called “Male Gaze: The Monster Movie Edition.” It’s that puerile, adolescent, lowest-common-denominator approach that mars what could have been an effective big-studio genre property, but honestly, it’s so hilariously misguided and juvenile that it’s worth a shot for the laughs alone.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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