What Planet Are You From?

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What Planet Are You From?
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mike Nichols
Produced by Mike Nichols
Neil A. Machlis
Garry Shandling
Screenplay by Garry Shandling
Michael Leeson
Ed Solomon
Peter Tolan
Story by Garry Shandling
Michael Leeson
Starring Garry Shandling
Annette Bening
Greg Kinnear
Ben Kingsley
Linda Fiorentino
John Goodman
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Edited by Richard Marks
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • March 3, 2000 (2000-03-03)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million
Box office $14,145,677

What Planet Are You From? is a 2000 science fiction comedy film starring Garry Shandling, Annette Bening, John Goodman, Greg Kinnear, Linda Fiorentino and Ben Kingsley. It was directed by Mike Nichols.


A denizen (Garry Shandling) of a faraway planet occupied only by highly evolved males is ordered by his superior, Graydon (Ben Kingsley), to find a female human, impregnate her and bring the baby back to the planet.

The visitor to Earth ends up in Phoenix, Arizona, where he assumes the name Harold Anderson and takes a job in a bank. There he meets a womanizing co-worker (Greg Kinnear), who goes to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings strictly to meet women. Harold accompanies him to one and meets Susan (Annette Bening), a recovering alcoholic.

He must marry her before he can try to mate. After their wedding in Las Vegas, Susan finds herself wildly satisfied by Harold, even though men from his planet have no genitals and he has been equipped for his Earth visit with a penis that makes a loud whirring sound whenever he gets an erection.

Harold and Susan have a difficult time conceiving a baby. Meanwhile, Roland (John Goodman), an employee of the FAA who learned of Harold's odd behavior on an airplane has become obsessed with proving him to be an alien and being the first one to find him.

When the child is born, Harold, following orders, abandons his wife and returns to his planet, but his sadness over hurting Susan leaves him with guilt and second thoughts even though people from his world theoretically have no emotions, so against the wishes of Graydon, he returns the baby to Susan and tells her the truth. Susan is angry, grateful, and completely disbelieving. Harold offers to prove that he is in fact an alien and does so just as Roland arrives, viewing Harold's "act of proof" through the window. Instead of forgiving him and welcoming him back into their relationship, Susan breaks down in tears, saying, "I thought I had things right but then I married an alien!" Harold leaves.

Once outside, Harold sees Roland, who is delighted to know he was right all along about Harold being an alien. Roland implores Harold to come with him and admit this to his wife who doesn't believe his words about Harold. Harold charitably agrees; nevertheless, before that can happen, Graydon shows up with a phaser. Holding Harold at gun point, he boasts he's taking Harold back. Roland pulls his gun on the leader who brags, "none of your primitive weapons can hurt me, and I can heal instantly from anything, " and shoots him in the chest. Graydon falls dead into the fountain.

Susan comes outside and admits that she thinks they should try to patch things up after all. Roland happily walks off with the Graydon's alien body. That scene cuts to one of Susan and Harold re-taking their vows, the wedding she says she always wanted. On the drive home, he admits that the citizens of his planet want him to take over as leader. They discuss it as if it's a great job offer, yet she doesn't want to move since all her friends are here, and she knows nothing about the school system there; consequently, he agrees begrudgingly to make the very long commute.



Filming began on 19 May 1999 and wrapped on 30 July 1999 and was produced on an estimated $60 million production budget. Filming took place in Phoenix and Sedona, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; Santa Clarita, California; and in Culver City, California on the Sony Pictures Studio lot. Garry Shandling filmed this movie during a hiatus from filming the troubled production of Town & Country (2001) with Warren Beatty.


What Planet Are You From? received mixed reviews from critics, currently holding a 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 77 reviews.[1][2] Roger Ebert in his March 3, 2000 review for the Chicago Sun-Times gave it one star of a possible four and described it as "the most uncomfortable movie of the new year, an exercise in feel-good smut."

The film was a box office bomb; produced on a budget of $60 million, it made only $14 million worldwide.[3]


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