Producer Michael Bay‘s douchebag fingerprints are all over I Am Number Four, a Twilight-meets-Transformers mash-up that will leave you alternately bored and confused. John (Alex Pettyfer) is an “extraordinary teen,” which means he’s an alien who’s trying to blend in on Earth by pouting a lot and talking in a monotone. (He can also throw a football really, really fast and has glowing Palms of Power, but that hardly matters.) He’s also the titular numero quatro on some intergalactic execution list, sought after by other aliens called Mogadorians who we know are bad because they have face tattoos and sneer.
Why exactly the Mogadorians are after John and his “protector,” Henri (Timothy Olyphant), is never really explained, but to evade them the pair move from city to city, doing their best to remain invisible. With zero personalities, you wouldn’t think this would be a problem. But John’s in Movie High School, which means that the coolest, loveliest girl (Dianna Agron) will fall for him. (She’s a photographer, so naturally she’s always in berets.) John’s puppy love ensures that he exposes himself (figuratively!) more than he should, attracting the attention of the bad guys and leading to darkly lit, chaotic battles in which you can never really tell what’s going on, especially when the film seems to detour into an offshoot of Jurassic Park. (Director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) borrowed from Bay’s playbook liberally.)
Based on a young-adult novel co-written by James Frey, I Am Number Four is a bland mess full of narrative and visual cliches, down to a slo-mo walk in front of an explosion. With actioner trash this expertly thrown together, Number Four is, ironically, probably destined to become No. 1.