June 29, 1998 12:00 PM

David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

Featured attraction

Trust no one. Particularly the makers of a hit television series when they decide to try to transfer the show intact to the big screen. The X-Files, the dull new movie based on the weekly Fox drama about two smart, sexy FBI agents who investigate UFOs and other paranormal phenomena, is strictly FFO (for fans only). If you don’t already count yourself among the 20 million faithful fanatics who plunk down on the couch every Sunday night to wallow in conspiracy theories and free-floating paranoia while following the adventures of agents Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Anderson), it’s unlikely The X-Files movie will convert you.

A sci-fi thriller, the movie is pretentious claptrap involving aliens, government cover-ups, viruses and vaccines, with a couple of car chases, explosions and assassinations thrown in for noisy good measure. As Mulder himself says of what’s going on, “It can’t be categorized or explained.” He’s got that right. Let’s just say that after a building blows up in Texas and four mysterious corpses turn up, Mulder and Scully, going against the orders of their superiors and the wishes of various shadowy figures (including the mysterious Cigarette-Smoking Man, whom fans of the show will know is evil incarnate), go to work. Their investigation takes them from Texas to Washington, D.C., and finally to Antarctica, where Mulder manages to get his hands on a costly, difficult-to-drive, snow-worthy vehicle with apparent ease. (Does Hertz rent these things at the South Pole airport?)

Neither the brooding Duchovny nor the austere Anderson comes across onscreen as much more than a cipher, while their suppressed romantic chemistry, much vaunted on TV, is weak stuff here. Director Rob Bowman’s pacing is uneven, and the movie’s baroque script, by series creator Chris Carter, spends too much time explaining what has been happening for the past five years on TV when it should be telling a bang-up story. (PG-13)

Bottom Line: Squeezed straight from the tube, this won’t win new fans

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