In trying to concoct my assessment of "The X-Files: I Want to Believe," I couldn't help but - fairly or not - compare it to "The Simpsons Movie" of 2007.
And, if you bear with me, I think my reasoning is fairly valid. Rather than one of the slew of '60s TV shows that have been "adapted" with none of the original creators involved, these are both actually made by the folks who came up with the concept in the first place (imagine that!) And they both indeed have the feeling of a single episode of the series stretched out to fill about two hours in your local multiplex.
But whereas "The Simpsons Movie" used all the show's best writers and voice cast to produce something better than the show has been in many, many years, what writer-director Chris Carter and writer Frank Spotnitz have come up with for this second "X-Files" movie is more like an average-at-best episode from the late '90s, before Annabeth Gish and Robert Patrick arrived to steer the show completely off the track, but after it had lost a lot of it's geek-cool edge.
The plot starts out on a promising note with a truly creepy Billy Connolly (if you've somehow managed to miss any images of him in this role, you may not even know who it is) in the role of a pedophile priest who has psychic visions about a case involving the disappearance of a female FBI agent. I'll try not to tell you too much more about the plot, but of course, former agent Scully (Gillian Anderson) is called upon to track down fellow former agent Mulder (David Duchovny.) And, the best thing about this "X-Files" flick is that Anderson and Duchovny still work great together as a team. They fall naturally into the roles of believer and skeptic and make it a welcome return for all their fans.
The problem, however, is that the case they're called in to help with - while suitably creepy enough for a "X-Files" episode - isn't nearly enough to fill a nearly two-hour movie. It's never terribly suspenseful, and a hackneyed attempt to tie it to the medical career Scully has pursued since leaving the FBI just falls flat.
In the supporting cast, Callum Keith Renee of "Battlestar Galactic" fame makes the most of his role as the "2nd abductor," but to tell you any more than that would just spoil things too much. It's with the FBI agents that have followed in Mulder and Scully's footsteps, however, that Carter and Spotnitz really missed the mark. They try to reverse the believer/skeptic vibe that Mulder and Scully used to make the show work for so many years, but while the reliable Amanda Peet comes across earnest enough as the believer, rapper and car pimper Xzibit just looks angry about having to be there at all as his sole facial expression through the whole affair. There are definitely some rappers who can act - Mos Def chief among them - but you, my friend, certainly are not yet one of them.
So, the bottom line is if you liked the show, there's enough fun touches - including a late cameo from one of the series regulars that will just make you smile - to make this fitfully enjoyable, but really not enough to justify it as more than a rental for even the most diehard fans. And, according to the box-office projection I saw, not even enough to lift this to any better than a fourth-place finish behind, in reverse order, "Step Brothers" (which I might see today), "Mamma Mia!" and - of course still on top - "The Dark Knight." Not a terrible movie by any stretch, but still more than a bit of a letdown. Peace out.