What Planet Are You From?

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What Planet Are You From?
Whatplanetareyoufrom.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mike Nichols
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Michael Leeson
  • Garry Shandling
Starring
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Edited by Richard Marks
Production
company
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 3, 2000 (2000-03-03)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million
Box office $14.1 million

What Planet Are You From? is a 2000 U.S. science fiction comedy film directed by Mike Nichols and written by Michael Leeson, Garry Shandling, Ed Solomon, and Peter Tolan[1] based on a story by Leeson and Shandling. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Shandling, Annette Bening, Greg Kinnear, Ben Kingsley, Linda Fiorentino, and John Goodman.[1]

Plot[edit]

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 Perry Gordon (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 Jones (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 him about Harold. Harold charitably agrees, but before that can happen, Graydon shows up with a phaser. Holding Harold at gunpoint, he declares 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 says she thinks they should try to patch things up after all. Roland happily walks off with Graydon's alien body. Susan and Harold retake their vows in the wedding she says she always wanted. On the drive home, he tells her that the citizens of his planet want him to take over as leader. They discuss it, but she doesn't want to move since all her friends are here, and she knows nothing about the school system there. Harold grudgingly agrees to make the very long commute.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Principal photography 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. Shandling filmed this movie during a hiatus from filming the troubled production of Town & Country (2001) with Warren Beatty.

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

What Planet Are You From? opened theatrically on March 3, 2000 in 2,248 venues, earning $3,008,746 in its first weekend and ranking fourteenth in the North American box office.[2] The film ended its run, having grossed $6,291,602 domestically and $7,854,075 overseas for a worldwide total of $14,145,677. Based on a $60 million budget, the film was a box office bomb.[3]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics, currently holding a 42% score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 77 reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. The site's consensus states: "Though What Planet Are You From? has some laughs, it's too inconsistent and bland for critics to give it their recommendations."[4] Metacritic reports a 41 out of 100 rating based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]