STARRING: Garry Shandling, Annette Bening, Greg Kinnear, Ben Kingsley, Linda Fiorentino

2000, 100 Minutes, Directed by: Mike Nichols

What Planet Are You From? starts off as a moderately funny sex comedy and then somewhere along the way the laughs dry up as the movie struggles to tie up its plot obligations. In other words, it starts off as a sex comedy and then turns into a romantic comedy.

The first fifteen minutes are still okay though: an alien from a planet consisting entirely of genital-less men (you read that right, yes) is sent to earth to impregnate an earth woman.

Somehow this is the first stage of an invasion of earth, but it is never properly explained how it fits into the overall scheme. The alien (played by deadpan TV comedian Gary Shandling of The Larry Sanders show) is fitted out with a mechanical penis, one that starts whirring audibly every time he becomes sexually aroused. This particular gag is played so many times that even if you found it hilarious the first time around; you'd be pretty tired of it by the end of the movie.

The jokes consist mainly of the "men not understanding women" variety and the humor really offers no new insights. If you're touchy you might even reasonably claim that What Planet Are You From? is sexist. All of which is a shame since the movie' has a promising premise and if it decided to stick to its start as a sex comedy it could have been quite funny.

Alas, it decides to make a sharp U-turn and tries to wrap up its various plot points quickly (a useless one of which involves John Goodman as an aviation safety inspector tracking down the Gary Shandling character) before the credits starts rolling.

In a sense it reminded me of the Jim Carrey comedy Me, Myself & Irene, which also started off as a politically incorrect comedy and then turned into a laugh-free zone as it tried to wrap up its plot points. And speaking of credits, What Planet Are You From? is directed by one Mike Nicols, who directed two American classics, namely The Graduate and Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? I'd recommend a career rethink for Mr. Nichols in this case . . .



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