Josh Bell

Seemingly every article about actor Duchovny references his master's degree in literature from Yale, so it's not hard to wonder what such a keen literary mind might think of Duchovny's writing and directing debut, the painfully earnest, obvious and just plain bad House of D. Would an Ivy League lit student bristle at the clichéd coming-of-age tale of a 13-year-old boy (Yelchin) in 1970s New York, who, naturally, has one season that changes his life? Would such a learned, nuanced brain cringe at the latest on-screen appearance of the secretly-wise-but-retarded menial laborer played, worse yet, by the unctuous Robin Williams?

Well, yeah, of course, and that's the problem with House of D. Duchovny, who spent a little more than seven seasons as Fox Mulder on The X-Files, is obviously smarter than the lame movie he's cooked up; all you have to do is watch the handful of clever X-Files episodes he wrote and/or directed. Those hours of TV were funny, quirky and refreshingly unself-conscious; House of D is nothing like them. It's like someone's sad idea of what a heartwarming drama about adolescence should be, with the cloying, stiff Yelchin playing off the annoyingly mugging Williams ineffectively, and Téa Leoni, Duchovny's wife, playing the mother of the character who Duchovny himself plays in a framing sequence. Now what would a lit major make of that?

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