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Movie Review

What Planet Are You From?

MPAA Rating: R for sexuality and language

Reviewed by: Scott Ward
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Romance Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Scene from What Planet Are You From?
Featuring: Garry Shandling, Annette Bening, Camryn Manheim, John Goodman, Ben Kingsley
Director: Mike Nichols
Producer: Garry Shandling, Mike Nichols, Neil Machlis
Distributor: Columbia Tristar

“What Planet are You From” is a mildly entertaining little comedy directed by Mike Nichols (“Primary Colors,” “The Birdcage”, “The Graduate”) starring Garry Shandling (“Dr. Dolittle,” “The Larry Sanders Show”) and Annette Bening (“Mars Attacks”, “The American President”). It also stars Greg Kinnear, Ben Kingsley, Linda Fiorentino, and John Goodman. It tells the story of a planet of men who decide to take over Earth by breeding humanity out of existence. Having received brief training in women (in the form of a 50’s-style “June Cleaver” type), Harold (Shandling) is chosen to begin the process. As time passes, he meets several women, marries one, and has a child—and begins to discover the value of being a father and a husband, just in time for his planet to recall him to train others.

Scene from “What Planet Are You From?”Don’t worry—I won’t spoil the ending of this well-done piece of work. The story is well-written, and several of the characters do seem to come to life. John Goodman’s performance is a standout for me, as is Garry Shandling. It’s very funny, with several moments which have the potential to keep you chuckling all the way home.

Unfortunately, many of those moments are done at the expense of morals. Sex and morals are played with as toys, and one of the major plot devices involves a malfunctioning set of genitals. Sometimes sex is necessary to build a story, but not this much. There’s also plenty of language, although not quite as much as in many recent films of the “R” rating. There’s brief violence that’s also played for laughs.

The only “Christian Thumbs Up” I can give to this movie is its message about family, and the need for men to be more than genetic material donors, but to be husbands and daddys. The message is almost too little, too late—but it is there and is central to the point of the film.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t recommend this movie to Christians without a heavy degree of caution.


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