Poor ‘Number Four’

If you have not yet: knitted a scarf for each and every one of your Facebook friends, written your own dictionary, finished the complete works of Shakespeare or caught a seagull with a fishing-pole, then there’s really no good reason to spend a minute at the movies right now.

But if, by some poor turn of fortune, you do happen to find yourself at the cinema looking for action, you’ll have a choice between Liam Neeson’s fourth bad movie in half as many years and Nicholas Cage’s second terrible movie in as many months.

There are comedies out there too. “Hall Pass” managed a positive review from one in three critics (although that Detroit Free Press tomato looks surprisingly ripe for reading “the film is rarely funny, pointedly tasteless, usually embarrassing and always bad”).

That’s not half bad considering Adam Sandler’s “Just Go With It” was labeled by “Slate” reviewer Dana Stevens as “a comedy so noxious it seems the product of deliberate malignity.”

Then there is the ill-conceived mix of action, comedy, high school, sci-fi and superhero known as “I Am Number Four.”

There is more excitement, comedy and originality in most SyFy channel originals.

The audience meets Number Four doing backflips on his jet ski somewhere off the coast of Florida. He’s at a beach party with a whole group of scantily-clad, tan, sexy 20-somethings, and has drawn the eye of the hottest girl of them all.

We’re supposed to sympathize with Number Four for not getting to be a real boy.

You see, Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) is an alien from a planet destroyed by other aliens with an unpronounceable name.

As an alien he doesn’t quite fit in – presumably because he’s too kind, too athletic, too cool and too attractive – and also has to constantly move because he’s not yet ready to fight the evil aliens hunting him down.

Moving from Florida to the rural Midwest, Number Four leaves behind the beach babes and becomes romantically involved with hipster photographer Sarah (Dianna Argon) who is the cutest, most talented, kindest, most artistic and most mature girl at his new school.

In that sense these two might just be a perfect match.

The Big Four also befriends the school’s little nerd Sam (Callan McAuliffe), which turns out to be a good thing since, like all skinny kids, Sam has spent his entire life researching aliens. Sam also has half a glowing rock that the audience finds out might do something way too late to care.

Unfortunately the Unpronounceables show up, causing a nasty little spat between giant CGI flying squirrels, a female good-alien who appears out of nowhere and a bad guy with a laser grenade launcher and a black trenchcoat. Are you following all of this?

After the good guys score a completely surprising victory, this little morality play comes to its moral: We really are better working together!

Pettyfer’s acting is some of the worst I’ve ever seen from the main character in a major motion picture.

I can’t remember a single scene he delivered convincingly.

The only time Pettyfer looked believable was when he was confused which, viewers may assume, was his natural state on set.

Nothing redeems Pettyfer’s poor acting, either. Besides Four’s foster dad played by Timothy Olyphant, who is his regular charming self, the supporting cast is easily as bad as Pettyfer.

The props look like cheap Wal-Mart toys, the special effects are somehow both updated and shittier derivatives of “Star Wars” and the characters are pathetic regurgitations of the same five adolescents we’ve known since “The Breakfast Club.”

And “The Breakfast Club” transcended those stereotypes like 25 years ago, anyway.

There is, however, one truly stunning twist to “I Am Number Four:” the ending has the gall to set up a sequel.

Here’s hoping for a “Hall Pass 2.”