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The X-Files: I Want to Believe 

Miss Mulder & Scully? Watch the re-runs.

Wednesday, Jul 23 2008
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The truth is still out there, like an unsold lawn chair at a garage sale, in this just plain lousy second big-screen outing for erstwhile FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). Since we last saw them, she’s become a doctor in a Catholic hospital, he a bearded recluse. (But rest assured fans, they’re still each other’s main squeeze.) Considerably more meager in its ambitions than 1998’s epic-scaled, junkily entertaining Fight the Future, I Want to Believe sees our dynamic duo reenlisted by their former employer to aid with...alien life forms? Some strange, inexplicable phenomenon? No, just an abducted agent and the convicted pedophile turned self-proclaimed psychic (Billy Connolly) who says he has visions of her whereabouts. Even in a less-than-stellar week of its decade-long run, the old X-Files TV show could usually come up with better than a possibly sham seer and — wait for it — a black-market organ-harvesting network run by gruff, unshaven Russian emigres. But what series creator Chris Carter (who directed I Want to Believe) and longtime showrunner Frank Spotnitz (who co-wrote and produced) lack in plot-churning gusto they try to make up for in ill-advised stabs at social relevancy, cramming in references to gay marriage, stem-cell research and (of course) our reigning Commander-in-Chief that are more laughable than provocative. It remains a pleasure just to see Anderson, one of the best and most chronically underemployed American actresses, doing anything onscreen. But long before I Want to Believe reaches its anti-climax, you too may be having visions — of the Exit sign. (Citywide)

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Reach the writer at sfoundas@villagevoice.com

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