What Planet Are You From?

on March 03, 2000 by Christine James
   Men aren't just from Mars, they're from a testosterone-exclusive planet four solar systems from Earth, according to this lightweight but amiable comedy. Garry Shandling plays H1449-6, alias Harold Anderson, an alien from an all-male world who comes to Earth to impregnate a woman as part of a global domination conspiracy. This proves more difficult than anticipated, given his species' lack of emotions and complete cluelessness when it comes to the female gender; however, it's these qualities that help him to fit right in with the menfolk.
   Right off the bat, Harold's romantic schemes fall flat, thanks to his woeful misinformation concerning effective pick-up lines (the source of which remains amusingly enigmatic). It doesn't help when he befriends a playboy (Greg Kinnear) who provides only negative reinforcement as far as the art of seduction goes. Making matters worse is the fact that Harold's mechanical penis, despite his planet's much-boasted-about advanced technology, makes a very obvious humming noise whenever he's aroused, which is almost constantly--that is, of course, until he gets married.
   "What Planet Are You From?" is consistently, if not ingeniously, funny in pointing out how "alien" men and women appear to each other, regardless of the galaxy of origin. The quality of the gags wavers from the time-worn misinterpretation of vernacular ("What do you mean she's hot? Is she on fire?") to Harold's hilarious transformation (he nags some disgruntled space goons with the typically Venusian argument, "If you don't talk to me, how will I know what's wrong?") Shandling and Annette Bening as Harold's incubator-turned-love interest are likable as two people (human or not) striving for happiness without having any idea as to how to go about achieving it, on this world or the next. Starring Garry Shandling, Annette Bening, John Goodman, Greg Kinnear and Ben Kingsley. Directed by Mike Nichols. Written by Garry Shandling & Michael Leeson and Ed Solomon and Peter Tolan. Produced by Mike Nichols, Garry Shandling and Neil Machlis. A Columbia release. Comedy. Rated R for sexuality and language. Running time: 104 min
Tags: Garry Shandling, Annette Bening, John Goodman, Greg Kinnear, Ben Kingsley, Directed by Mike Nichols, Written by Garry Shandling & Michael Leeson, Ed Solomon, Peter Tolan, Produced by Mike Nichols, Neil Machlis, A Columbia release, Comedy, happiness, misinterpretation, hilarious, reinforcement, domination, conspiracy

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