The oddest thing happened as I started to watch Martian Child. The movie opens with John Cusack narrating ... or at least it was supposed to be Cusack. But the voice triggered a sense of deja vu: I'd heard it before, but not out of this particular actor's mouth. When his character started talking about his latest science-fiction novel, suddenly I figured it out, and it was freaky: I was seeing John Cusack and hearing Albert Brooks (who also played a sf author, in Mother). The sensation was uncanny, and almost impossible to shake. During the slower parts of this movie, I found myself wondering whether Cusack had some kind of secret chronic throat ailment and had been dubbed by Brooks.

Perhaps if the movie had engaged me more, I would have forgotten about the weird voice thing as the story progressed. Unfortunately, Martian Child never drew me in, although some scenes made me laugh and the cast was terrific. The movie was directed by Menno Meyjes, who also worked with Cusack in the 2002 film Max, and was based on a semi-autobiographical novel by science-fiction writer David Gerrold (who wrote the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles").