What Planet Are You From? (2000)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Sex Comedy, Sci-Fi Comedy, Alien Film  |   Release Date - Mar 3, 2000 (USA)  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

The rollercoaster directing career of Mike Nichols experiences a dip with this puzzling comedy that's presented with an air of slick, dark cynicism completely at odds with the witty, good-natured humor of its star and script. As producer, writer, and first-time leading man in a motion picture, former stand-up comic Garry Shandling wisely sticks to form, playing a selfish, neurotic nebbish who's baffled by the inner workings of his fellow human beings, particularly women. Whether portraying a TV talk show host, himself, or a space alien, Shandling has perfected this shtick and he milks the role for all it's worth, providing the film with its best moments of levity. Although given little of interest to do as love interest Susan, Annette Bening is typically accomplished in her role, as is Greg Kinnear in his underwritten part of a philandering husband. Where What Planet Are You From? truly derails, however, is in the artistic choice of presenting the film as a dour, downbeat satire when its script and performances seem clearly to demand a lighthearted, farcical tone. Like many a misfire before it, Shandling's film contains a frustrating degree of potential that goes unrealized.