Martian Child, based on the somewhat autobiographical novel of David Gerrold, is sort of a family-friendly K=Pax. It stars John Cusack as sci-fi writer David Gordon, who decides to adopt a child in the wake of his wifes death.
The young boy who joins Davids family is Dennis, a social outcast who hides from the sun and claims hes actually from Mars. The two seem well suited at first, with the writer being able to better understand the alien world of the child. Dennis is a handful though emotionally distant with a penchant for stealing in addition to his steadfast assertion of an extraterrestrial background. David, despite his best efforts, quickly becomes overwhelmed, especially as theyre living under the close scrutiny of Childrens Aid, who has to approve the adoption.
Davids inexperience at parenting and Denniss lack of social progress threaten to tear their family apart. You know how this movie goes two misfits with tons of baggage find each other and learn how to love and trust again. It succeeds within this formula due to the likeability of the characters and the strength of the actors. Cusack does the usual charming babbling that hes built a career on, only this time hes trying to win the heart of a six-year-old instead of a leading lady. Bobby Coleman does a great job as the young Dennis, whos trying desperately to make sense of human behaviour. Joan Cusack has a nice turn as (surprise) Davids sister, whose honest descriptions of the perils of parenthood are pretty hilarious.
Theres also a slightly awkward side plot involving a potential romance between David and his dead wifes best friend (Amanda Peet), which is underdeveloped and doesnt add a whole lot to the film. (Alliance Films)