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At the beginning of summer if someone were to ask me what would be the most disappointing film of the summer (thus far) I could have pretty much guaranteed the world “Man” or “Hulk” would have been in my answer, but not the single letter “X”, yet here we are, nearly done with the summer movie season and the shining example of too little, too late is a movie I wanted to believe in so much.

The X Files: I Want to Believe seeks to do two things, introduce new viewers to The X Files, which ran on FOX from 1993-2002, and to bring back viewers who have been without their Mulder/Scully fix for the better part of the new millennium. What Chris Carter has done with the secret script he guarded for years barely measures up to one of the show’s mediocre episodes which thankfully lasted only 42 minutes, here we have nearly two hours to endure.

The abandoning of the mythology story arc, seemingly resolved at the end of the series, really hinders what makes The X Files special. Even the first film, which fit into the time line of the show, broadened the show’s appeal with bigger set pieces, bigger action, but kept the series trademark conspiracy, mythology, and characters in check. Fight the Future was a superior example of how to transition a TV show to the silver screen with style, while preserving what made it special in the beginning. I Want to Believe is a devolution back to the monster-of-the-week story lines present throughout the show’s book-ending first and ninth seasons, no mention of aliens, black oil, cigarette smoking men, nothing. Replace the two main characters with anyone else, or chimpanzees and you’d have the same film.

The biggest problem is how fleeting the final, and highly rated, episode of the series is thrown away, it’s a single line of dialog and Mulder is no longer a wanted man, in-fact, all it takes is one psycho psychic (who also happens to like little boys) and the FBI is scraping at the door to get Mulder back into the fold. Aren’t these the same people that wanted him dead? The same people that created trumped up charges so see him live in agony for the rest of his life and discredit his work?

Aside from a minor appearance by Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), who is apparently still working for the FBI even after the series finale, we get nothing else to even remotely identify this as an extension of The X Files series. No Lone Gunman (even though they are dead), no Doggett, no William (aside from a mention of Scully’s who-knows-where child), but we do get the famous poster and a few Samantha references.

Maybe Carter wrapped everything up too tightly at the end of the TV run to really make a follow up movie or create a franchise beyond a nine year run on the small screen. Without the mythology, there is no X Files, all you have left is creepy Russian headhunters who like to transplant heads to different bodies.

As the credits roll after the most needless ocean scenery ever the light come up and you stare blankly at the screen, wanting to believe that there’s more, that a UFO will come crashing through the production logo and set up a sequel covered in black oil. You want to believe that The X Files isn’t truly over, but after such a mess of a film, you now want to believe they’ll leave this treasured franchise alone to run in syndication and in the minds of its fans.

Starz continues its original series, Starz Inside, by taking a look at the gross out comedy and its origins in Hollywood after the Production Code started to break down and John Waters got hold of some cameras.

As with all of the Starz Inside products, In The Gutter‘s format is that of critics and artists in a talking head setting talking about the films and subjects brought up as we progress from Pink Flamingos to Superbad teenagers. Problem is the biggest star that Starz was able to snag is Jason Biggs (American Pie) who just tells us some semi-funny anecdotes about having sex with pastries on the set of the film.

The timeline presented begins with the Waters films and evolves through National Lampoon and MAD Magazine‘s rises in print, and eventual movie makings of the former with Animal House, slowly making its way through Porky’s, American Pie, Van Wilder, and the like. Strangely a big amount of time is spent on both Porky’s and American Pie, yet South Park gets two lines of dialog saying how they raised the bar. This shows one of the biggest shortcomings of the special in that the producers couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get the rights to show anything more than the film’s poster. This seems inconsistent throughout as clips from There’s Something About Mary make it into the film, but we’re left with only a single screen grab from Superbad.

The hour is packed with enough gross out jokes, jabs, and humor to clear a room, even the 20 second clip of the infamous Van Wilder donuts scene caused both my girlfriend and I to cover our faces, but that’s exactly what the filmmaker’s were going for when they shot that scene.

As with previous specials in the series it is disappointing that more named talent couldn’t be brought on board, including some writers or directors famous for launching this subgenre of comedy beyond the bounds of good-taste. There isn’t a lot of information here that is new, but you do get probably the world’s easiest compilations of scenes from gross out films to make a entire Scene It! game