keep it short and simple this week, folks, because I have a full
slate scheduled for later at the Arvada Tavern. Let me happily say
my string of unbearably bad movie has been broken, and by something
I expected to be as bad as its lame title. While "What Planet
Are You From" is no masterpiece, and it partially gets three
fingers just for not sucking out loud, it also has some real laughs.
Yes, the Filthy Critic laughed so hard at one point that my gum
flew out and landed in my neighbor's popcorn. That's what the prick
gets for hogging the arm rest the whole movie. Asshole.
Shandling is from outer space. His people are incapable of feeling
or loving, and they are plotting to overthrow Earth by infiltrating
it. Because of his ability to fake compassion, Shandling is chosen
to impregnate a human babe and get the ball rolling. Because his
people have no cocks (unlike human males, especially me), so he
is equipped with a vibrating, humming boner and sent out on his
mission (if you think that sort of gag can get old fast, you are
the pickup lines he is taught on his home planet fail to impress
the Earth gals (hey, Garry, you're not alone), he goes with Greg
Kinnear, a sleazy bank loan agent, to nudie bars and Alcoholic Anonymous
meetings. There he meets Annette Bening, who looks too old and tired
for the role. After a whirlwind romance, they are married and work
very hard to conceive a kid. Meanwhile, John Goodman is a Federal
Aviation Authority (or Administration, it changes halfway through
the movie) investigating a disturbance on a commercial jet. You
see, with much flashing and shaking, Shandling comes and goes to
his home planet through the plane's lavatory.
Bening successfully has a bun in the oven, Shandling's work is done,
so he becomes the typical lazy husband, not interested in sex or
talking. See, the joke is that men are from another
planet and are incapable of relating to women. Boy, I've never heard
a shitty comic on the Comedy Channel tell that one before.
the baby is born, Goodman closes in on Shandling, who develops human
feelings for both Bening and the baby. It leads to a climactic showdown
among the aliens, Shandling and the humans.
Planet Are You From" feels like a bunch of really funny people
forced to make a movie for the Lifetime Channel. Even with a lame
premise designed to help women understand men (and really fucking
pathetic men understand themselves), some of the funny shines through.
It doesn't help that the movie's main premise was beaten to death
in hack comedy clubs four years ago. I can only imagine how good
a movie they could have made without being chained to such a stupid
"Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus," gag. The fact
that they managed to squeeze any laughs from it is a miracle.
expected two hours of Garry Shandling's nasal braying would be about
as pleasant as having my balls cut off with wire snippers. In fact,
he was the best thing about the movie. He may be the most limited
actor in the world, always playing the insecure, extremely unattractive
egotist, but he stays within his limits and scores all of the move's
good lines. Shandling was a very good stand up comic, with very
good persona and timing, and when he tells jokes here, he's funny.
If only he could have told different jokes. Shandling does lose
points, though, for a hideous wardrobe of Izod shirts and golf pants.
He looks like a car salesman on his day off.
Mike Nichols does an admirable job, too. He keeps it all goofy.
I don't think he thought they were making anything more than a really
dumb comedy. Only during the lame climax does he stop winking at
the audience, and that's the movie's low-point. So many bad fucking
comedies (i.e. "The Whole Nine Yards") get confused and
think they are some fancy piece of clever art and it makes them
ponderous piles of crap. It's just fucking comedy and thank God
Nichols recognizes that.
rest of the movie is a washout. John Goodman's subplot is tedious,
and he isn't given much to do but deal with a whiny wife. As much
as I love that fat tub of goo, the movie would have been better
without his story. Annette Bening isn't required to do anything
here. She can be pretty funny, but all that this movie asks is for
someone Shandling can bounce jokes off of. Kinnear's character could
have scored if he was anything but a broad stereotype of the sleazy
man. In just one night at the Arvada Tavern, I can see sleazy assholes
in ten variations, yet this movie only bothers to gives us the simplest
sucked the worst here is the movie's assumption that the stereotypes
created by fucking assholes like John Gray and other prick who've
cashed in with "Men and Women Are Different" books are
true. It assumes that books designed for people who need a tidy
little explanation for everything are correct. Instead of making
fun of that simplistic horseshit, it agrees with it. The real comedy
would be in taking a red-hot poker and shoving it up Gray's ass.
Oh, shit, I would pay to see that, over and over.
Shandling's limitations as an actor and human being make it hard
to believe that he would become a caring person. As the movie progresses,
we are supposed to believe that he is becoming human. Nope, doesn't
work. When Shandling is an alien and acts like an alien, he's in
his own skin. When he has to show real emotion, it gets goopy and
he looks like someone's pinching him. Worst of all is the scene
where he has to run. No human male, not even Brian Boitano, runs
is a bargain theater matinee movie. Even though it's mostly a chick
movie, "What Planet Are You From" will not get us guys
laid afterward (those movies will never star Garry Shandling). But,
in a sea of shit, it keeps its head above the rest. Three fingers.
to tell Filthy Something?