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Six Days in Roswell   C+

Beatnik Home Entertainment

Year Released: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Timothy B. Johnson
Cast: Richard Kronfeld.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

Shot in 1997, the quasi-documentary Six Days in Roswell shows us the wacky celebration that went on during the 50th anniversary of the supposed UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico. Coming from the same guys who made the humorous documentary Trekkies, which focused on Star Trek fans, Six Days in Roswell examines another group of interesting people. We meet UFO buffs, alleged abductees, alien experts (including Whitley Strieber, author of the bestselling Communion), and Roswell locals trying to make a few bucks off of the phenomenon by selling alien cookies and giving haircuts shaped like flying saucers. Each person we meet seems kookier than the last, but director Timothy B. Johnson never judges his subjects: of course, we can make fun of them all we want.

Our guide through this insanity is a guy named Richard Kronfeld (a real person who also appeared briefly in Trekkies). But here's where reality and fiction begin to blur: Richard is playing a character here, though he uses his real name. In the film, he's a thirtysomething UFO nerd who still lives with his mom (played by an actress, not his real mom). Richard's deadpan persona sets the tone for the film, which pokes fun but doesn't judge. He leaves his residence in Minnesota and heads off to Roswell, where he hopes to be abducted by aliens. It's his lifelong fantasy.

Many of the scenes with Richard are apparently staged, including the episodes with Richard doing odd jobs to help pay for his stay in an old man's motor home. These are mostly lukewarm attempts at humor that really just waste time. After all, the funniest stuff in the film is what's real: the encounters with the freaks who populate the streets of Roswell during this crazy celebration.

If you don't believe that a UFO crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, Six Days won't make you think otherwise. It's not that kind of documentary; this film is going for laughs, plain and simple. Most of the brief interviews are amusing, but rarely ever laugh-out-loud funny.

Six Days in Roswell has a few decent laughs, but most of the time it just wobbles along on a lightly amusing note. The editing here is extremely irritating, since they never hold on a single shot for more than two seconds. Does this rapid-fire editing really make the film any more entertaining? No. It was rather jarring, actually, since the moment you see something interesting they cut to something else. Sorry, I just had to gripe about the editing of Six Days in Roswell because it really annoyed me.

If you're an alien enthusiast willing to poke fun at yourself, you might enjoy this film. Sure, the truth is out there. Six Days in Roswell shows how absurd the truth can be.

Review published 02.06.2001.

Follow Michael Scrutchin on Twitter or Letterboxd.

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