What Planet Are You From?

"Bad"

What Planet Are You From? Review


A comedian whose schtick has always been his acute social-sexual dysfunction, in "What Planet Are You From?" Garry Shandling is nothing if not well-cast as an alien packed off to Earth by his neutered, all-male race to impregnate an earth female as a prelude to invasion.

Given a crash course in inept pick-up lines and fitted with a motorized prosthetic penis that hums when he's aroused, Shandling is transported to the privy of a passenger jet and emerges to piggishly proposition stewardesses and every other female in sight, in what has to be the most awkwardly sexist comedy since the 1960s.

Populated by fundamentally unlikable, abusive men and pathetically needy, bitchy women, the drudging, deadpan farce tracks Shandling's libidinous frustration as he fails to pick up chicks and is chased by FAA investigator John Goodman (his arrival caused an air traffic incident), who figures out his secret with the flimsiest of suppositions.

Shandling poses as a banker, picks up Annette Bening at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting ("Great place to meet easy chicks," co-worker Greg Kinnear advises him), then marries her because otherwise she won't put out and he's running out of options. This sets the film up to become little more than a vulgar, sci-fi rehashing of the same old Mars vs. Venus material that's been visited before in 10,000 romantic comedies.

Shandling is soon acclimated enough to Earth culture to become a competitive snake at work, a beer-swilling couch potato at home and can even crack obscure jokes about the Pulitzer Prize -- yet somehow he still hasn't learned a thing about women. Oh. Ha-ha. I get it. Yeish!

Directed by Mike Nichols ("The Birdcage") from a screenplay Shandling piloted through a large committee of script doctors, "What Planet" shows an occasional spark of incidental comedic creativity in between the recurring and increasingly tiresome humming crotch gags. For instance, the office of Goodman's FAA snoop is decorated with framed pictures of burning planes.

But such infrequent, irrelevant chuckles aren't enough to prevent adult audiences from fidgeting like little kids for most of the movie, wondering if Nichols will ever be rolling out the belly laughs, toning down the insults or getting to the point.

Bening gives birth in the last act, leading to a predictable emergence of humanity in Shandling, a confrontation with his home planet and an emasculating flip-flop in the movie's tone that exposes its utter lack of depth.

In 1989, Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans made a cornball B-comedy called "Earth Girls Are Easy" (based on the Julie Brown song) with a similar plot, sans the invasion angle. It's a guilty pleasure -- dumb, predictable, under-written and meagerly acted -- but it has twice the laughs of "What Planet Are You From?" without the shrill attitude toward the battle of the sexes.

If "What Planet" appeals to you in theory, I say stay home and rent "Earth Girls" instead.



What Planet Are You From?

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd March 2000

Budget: $60M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Fresh: 32 Rotten: 45

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Harold Anderson, as Susan Anderson, as Roland Jones, as Perry Gordon, as Helen Gordon, as Graydon, as Rebecca, as Don Fisk, as Woman

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.