What Planet Are You From?

Review Date:
Director: Mike Nichols
Writer: Garry Shandling, M. Leeson, E. Solomon, P. Tolan
Producers: Mike Nichols, Garry Shandling, Neil A. Machlis
Garry Shandling
Annette Bening
John Goodman
A male life form from another planet populated entirely of highly evolved males is sent down to Earth in order to impregnate a woman and consequently save his own planet.
Despite its one-track mentality and overall tame nature, this fun-premised film features a decent helping of chuckles, a couple of big laughs, interesting characters interpreted by good actors and enough penis jokes to satisfy…well, all penis joke lovers! Being a proud lifetime member of the penis joke lovers club, I was amused by most of what I saw in this film but still managed to leave the theater with an uneasy sense of fulfillment. Sure I smiled, laughed and giggled…uhm, well okay I don’t giggle, but chuckled my way through one humming penis joke after the next, and you bet I enjoyed John Goodman’s nutjob FAA dude performance, as well as Kinnear’s king of sleaze character, but ultimately it just felt like the film was missing a certain je ne sais quoi…bite, perhaps! I guess I was expecting a darker, grittier and much funnier interpretation of this creative premise, but in the end, it felt more like a safe trolley ride through the sanitized lanes of Hollywood studio-land. Shandling…with restraints on tight.

Don’t get me wrong, the film isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, in fact, I sort of appreciated some of its smaller, more emotional moments between Shandling and Bening, and its cute ending. But if you’re like me, expecting to see an edgy, darker point of view in this film, you will be hard-pressed to find it among its grab-bag of penis humming jokes. In fact, the penis humming gag is the film’s main running feature (i.e. alien gets horny, penis starts humming loudly…alien gets turned off, the humming subsides), which I personally enjoyed (see previous lifetime membership acknowledgment earlier on in this review), but which I certainly can see getting “old” to others out there. Overall, I would say that the film does provide for some light, enjoyable, quick and easy entertainment with an original story, but I would recommend that you go into it with minimal expectations and a certified predilection towards penis and male chauvinistic humor. Guilty on both counts 🙂

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

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