Planet Are You From" on DVD
Out of This World
DVD of Mike Nichols "What Planet Are You From" is a refreshing change.
It's a romantic comedy that's both funny and romantic. It's also silly
Garry Shandling, who
co-produced and co-wrote "Planet," is an alien named Harold. Part of a
super-race that's emotionless and genitalia-less, he's sent to Earth to
begin the planet's invasion - from the inside. His mission is to impregnate
an Earth Woman (who turns out to be Annette Bening).
Harold arrives on
Earth via the rest room of an airborne Boeing 727 and, since his job is
to impregnate a woman - any woman - immediately starts hitting upon every
person with breasts that he meets.
His arrival via a
commercial airline - and the havoc the arrival wreaks on the flight -
brings him to the attention of a suspicious FAA official (John Goodman),
who spends the rest of the film destroying his career as he searches for
the truth behind Harold.
otherworldly genesis means that, for him to procreate, he's had to have
an artificial penis installed - and it doesn't work as well as it should.
This leads to some good comedic moments, though it also runs into the
danger of being a running gag that runs out of steam. Fortunately, Nichols,
Shandling and the rest of the production team just managed to avoid this
During the course
of his ultimately successful mission - though it's not successful in the
way the aliens powers that be (led by Ben Kingsley doing his best Patrick
Stewart impression) had planned - Harold discovers that his race can learn
"What Planet Are You
From" is nearly as much about the battle of the human sexes as it is about
aliens from space. There's some great men vs. women stuff in it, and they
milk it for all it's worth.
Shandling isn't the
greatest actor, but his relatively wooden face comes in handy for a supposedly
emotionless alien and that ends up being a positive thing. Bening is marvelous
as the recovering alcoholic looking to turn her life around. Greg Kinnear
is also very good as the unscrupulous scuzzbag who mentors - and screws
- Harold. Goodman's role is kind of like Richard Dreyfuss' part in Steven
Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - the ordinary guy who
puts everything on the line, and loses it, in his search for "the truth
that's out there" and Goodman has a fine time in the part.
The DVD is presented
in anamorphic widescreen and Pan&Scan on opposite sides of the disc.
Picture quality is excellent, as is the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.
Extras include a "making of" featurette, an isolated track featuring Carter
Burwell's musical score, talent files, production notes, trailers, etc.
"What Planet Are You
From" is the only Mike Nichols film this reviewer has seen that has actually
made him laugh out loud. Several times.
What Planet Are You
From, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
107 minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1)/Pan&Scan, Dolby Digital
Starring Garry Shandling, Annette Bening, John Goodman, Greg Kinnear,
Produced by Mike Nichols, Garry Shandling, and Neil Machlis
Written by Garry Shandling & Michael Leeson and Ed Solomon and Peter
Tolan, Directed by Mike Nichols
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