What Planet Are You From?

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
Director:Mike Nichols
Writers:Garry Shandling, Michael Leeson, Ed Solomon, Peter Tolan
Columbia Pictures; R; 115
Cast:Garry Shandling, Annette Bening, Greg Kinnear

Life imitating art was a very 20th-century thing. In the year 2000, art(ifice) has taken the place of life that was mimicking art to begin with, and What Planet Are You From? is a perfect example of this mish-mashed pastiche. It takes as its starting point the premise of the bestselling "nonfiction" book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, and couples together Garry Shandling (mugging the dry deadpan of his cable comedy characters) and Annette Bening (acting, hilariously, as a real estate agent a la American Beauty. It's a wry comedy with moments of hilarity amidst drifting directorial clouds more suited to television.

Harold (Shandling) really is from outer space, and he must impregnate an Earth woman and return with the offspring to save his planet. After absorbing lessons in womanizing from a delightfully sleazy Greg Kinnear, Shandling's character ends up hitched to recovering alcoholic Susan (Bening). Marital bliss means little to a being with no human emotions, although he's suddenly relying on television as much as any American couch potato (echoing yet another film, The Man Who Fell to Earth).

With all the talent involved, one would have expected fewer penis jokes.

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