Mr. Movie

'X-Files' return should go down as 'Ex-Files'

I never watched the X-Files TV series, and I don’t remember much about the 1998 X-Files movie except that everyone wondered if agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully would get it on and make it the Sex-Files.

X-Files: I Want to Believe erases all doubt.

Billed as a stand-alone episode — well, as stand-alone as a series based on 174 TV episodes can be — Scully is now a practicing physician. And Mulder is hiding out and wanted by the FBI for a crime that is not explained in the movie.

A psychic pervert ex-priest has visions of people, including an FBI agent, being kidnapped and tortured. Mulder, because of his paranormal experience, is forgiven his FBI sins and joins the hunt for — what?

A solid plot probably.

She has a dilemma of faith; he has a dilemma of no one but him believing the scuzzy old priest. And the scuzzy old priest — done very nicely by comedian Billy Connolly — has the worst crisis of all. When he signed for the movie he probably had visions of something more substantial.

You can tell that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have missed working together. Their camaraderie early on is easy and natural, and they’re obviously having fun. With no plot to stand on, their performances deteriorate and by mid-movie are as uncomfortable and choppy as the convoluted plot.

X-Files: I Want to Believe starts out as a good movie but with nowhere to go, creator Chris Carter’s film turns into something looking more like a bad TV show than a first-rate feature film. All that’s missing is the break for commercials.

In the mid-1990s, there is no doubt that X-Files was cutting-edge entertainment that mined new and exciting territory. After almost 16 years of the Clinton and Bush administrations, so much weirdness has happened that the paranormal has become passé.

It’s over. The series’ time in the light has come and gone. File the X-Files in a brand new folder and mark it Ex-Files.

Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some blood and gore. It opens Friday at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild 12.

Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars

Mr. Movie ratings

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself