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'The Host' review: At best it's unintentionally hilarious


Rajeev Masand,CNN-IBN
Apr 19, 2013 at 11:19pm IST

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel

Director: Andrew Niccol

When an alien enters the body of a nice teenage girl, her original spirit refuses to leave, her head now crowded with two voices that want different things, including two boys who aren't particularly fond of each other.

Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight books, recycles the same love triangle formula, only replacing vampires and werewolves with a sci-fi spin. 'The Host', based on another bestseller by Meyer, is just as spectacularly silly as that heavy-breathing franchise, but with a leading lady far more charismatic than the grimacing heroine of those blockbusters.

Saoirse Ronan plays Melanie Stryder, one of the last surviving humans in a future where the earth has been conquered by aliens. When Melanie is captured, an alien "soul" known as Wanderer is placed inside her body. But problem is, Melanie refuses to go away.

So although what you see is one person, it's actually two of them in there, bickering and disagreeing on virtually everything. Matters get particularly complicated after our protagonist flees the alien headquarters and joins a rebel group of human survivors in their mountain hideout. Here Melanie and her mental roommate wrestle with their respective feelings for Jared (Max Irons) and Ian (Jake Abel), thereby turning this whole thing into a creepy affair between three bodies and four identities.

To be fair, it isn't just Meyer's asinine story, but also director Andrew Niccol's sterile execution of the plot that makes 'The Host' such a challenge to sit through. Ronan is the saving grace of this solemn, humourless film; it's an achievement that she manages to play both Melanie and Wanderer without bursting into laughs at the clunky dialogue or the idiotic romantic portions with the guys.

I'm going with one out of five for 'The Host'. At best it's unintentionally hilarious. How do you not crack up when two voices in one head argue with each other over kissing a boy?

Rating: 1/5

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