Dale Sweeney has always been fascinated by the unexplained. The things "other people think are crazy." Aliens, creatures, the Loch Ness monster -- name it, and Dale is not only willing to listen, he'll believe you as well.
On his radio show "Hey, I'll Believe You With Dale Sweeney," Dale welcomes callers with open ears. Whether he's hosting a two-for-Tuesday UFO block or a show to confirm the existence of werewolves, Dale is living his dream. If only people were actually listening to him.
Luckily for Dale, and the new movie "I'll Believe You," that changes when he gets a call about a UFO sighting. ("It's an object and I can't identify it, so it's an unidentified flying object," he's told.)
Soon, things start to get very "X-Files"-ish in Melbourne, Fla. There's a series of strange thefts; pages of the oddest-looking graffiti this side of "Numb3rs" are found; and a mystery caller spouting gibberish (or is it an alien language?) phones in to Dale's show at precisely 1:13 a.m. every night. Now Dale is the one looking for someone to believe his theory that an alien has landed in this sweet-natured family comedy.
Accompanied by his two best friends, the lovely Page (Cece Pleasants) and Nick, who is seemingly the only cop in town (played with a nice comic touch by Buffalo's Patrick Gallo), Dale has a renewed energy as he seeks his alien. There will be mysteries to solve, run-ins with Men in Black and plenty of naysayers and self-doubt to overcome, but Dale never loses his boyish enthusiasm.
"I'll Believe You" is a whimsical tale with a very clever story that takes a long time to tell despite the movie's compact running time of about 77 minutes. It's one of those quiet little movies made by people with passion that's big enough to overcome a small budget. In this case, it's brothers Paul and Ted Sullivan, who wrote the movie with their buddy Sean McPharlin. Paul, a comedian and short-film director, also took on the directorial helm.
The movie hinges on casting a likable guy with a guy-next-door persona in the lead role of Dale, and David Alan Basche doesn't disappoint. (Another Buffalo connection: casting director Laura Corrin.) You want this guy to find his alien, no matter how unlikely that is.
Patrick Warburton, who is keeping busy with "Bee Movie," along with his TV show "Rules of Engagement," shares top billing although he only appears in the final third of the film. There are plenty of other familiar faces as well, including Thomas Gibson, who loosens up from "Criminal Minds"; Ed Helms from "The Office"; and the wonderful Fred Willard as the radio station manager. Chris Elliott and Mo Rocca also appear, although they play two of the film's more eccentric characters that the story could have done without.
"I'll Believe You" may ultimately suffer from its lack of a big budget. It doesn't have the special effects kids need these days to keep their attention. But it has something that money can't buy: imagination. I'll take that over big special effects any day.
I'LL BELIEVE YOU
2 1/2 stars (Out of 4)STARRING: David Alan Basche, Patrick Warburton and Patrick Gallo
DIRECTOR: Paul Sullivan
RUNNING TIME: 77 minutes
RATING: PG for mild language.
THE LOWDOWN: A radio host seeks a mystery caller he thinks is an extraterrestrial.