What Planet Are You From (1989) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

The critics hated this film, and it was a financial disaster, but we like some things about it, and found it mediocre overall, not awful.

Scoop's comments in white:

Garry Shandling wrote a pretty good script here, and Mike Nichols directed, so the film had some potential, but the real weakness of the film is that Shandling starred in it. He can tell jokes or play a neurotic talk show host, but Garry ain't exactly Olivier in the thespian department, and he ain't exactly Brad Pitt in the looks category either. I don't know about you, but seeing Garry Shandling naked is down pretty far on my priority list, lower even than being ripped apart by wildcats or watching the complete works of the Olsen twins.

Anyway, it started out as a comedy, then it was a serious examination of the human condition, then it was a love story. I don't know what it is in total. Basic story: a planet decides that impregnating an earth woman is necessary to their plan for conquest of the universe. Unfortunately, they have no penises and have to use hydraulics.

The opening scenes are funny - the aliens learn to seduce an earth woman by complimenting her footwear and going "um-hum" while she talks. And Greg Kinnear was pretty funny as Shandling's human co-worker. It's too bad that Kinnear wasn't in the Shandling role, because that might have infused the film with some much-needed energy. I did like that first 25 minutes or so, but once Shandling got off his planet and Kinnear got off the screen, the whole thing started to degenerate into a one-joke premise related to the noises made by his hydraulic penis. Then it further degenerated into a bunch of sentimental speeches when Shandling truly learned to love.

Bah humbug.


Breasts from Anastasia Sakelaris, Judy Greer, and some background strippers.

Also a glimpse of Judy Greer's crotch.

Buns from Garry Shandling.

Tuna's comments in yellow:

What Planet Are You From (2000) starts off as an over the top Sci-fi comedy (or at least tries to), and sort of meanders into a romantic drama. There are some lovely women, some real talent, and a few funny moments, but it is an often slow, and mostly incoherent film. Garry Shandling plays an alien who is given a short course on "the seduction of the earth woman", then is sent to earth with an added penis, to impregnate a woman as quickly as possible.  Transit is accomplished through the toilet of an airliner in flight, and  Shandling starts hitting on women from the moment he leaves the john. This is all in the interest of intergalactic expansionism. We are never told how a mixed-race baby causes the annexation of Earth, but that is a minor flaw for this film.

Alien Garry has been given a cover as an investment banker, and a co-worker (Greg Kinnear) takes him under his wing and tries to get him laid. After hitting the strip club, he takes Shandling to the ultimate babemart - an AA meeting. There Shandling finds the woman of his dreams - Annette Bening. This is where the film changes course and becomes a romance about a spaceman learning the human concept of love.

DVD info from Amazon

  • full screen and widescreen anamorphic formats.

This isn't so much a bad film as just sort of a nothing film. I have a hunch some of the best footage was left on the cutting room floor, because some sub-plots start, then just sort of go away. Better editing might have made for a much better film, and they really should have gone all the way with either comedy or romance.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus one and an half stars. James Berardinelli 2/4, Roger Ebert 1/4.

The People Vote ...

  • It was a sea of red ink. The studio spent more than $50 million on production, then more on distribution and marketing. The total box office was a measly six million dollars.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. If you really like sentimental lowbrow comedies, this has its moments, although it is no Blazing Saddles. If you don't like that kind of material, stay clear, because it is a weak film in many ways, and it just about totally unfunny in the last hour.

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