If Gary Shandling were an alien, would you know the difference?

What Planet Are You From? purports to be a comedy with insights about relationships and sexual politics. What it really is, in fact, is a vehicle for Gary Shandling's trademark insecurities.

As an alien with a prosthetic penis, Shandling is sent to Earth to impregnate a human. The recurring joke on the soundtrack is that the penis makes a mechanical hum when he gets aroused. Aside from that little difference, Shandling is simply the Shandling we know. The implied comment here is that human men relate to women about on the same level as an alien.

Annette Benning brings some depth to the movie, but her efforts fall flat with no support from Shandling. Ben Kingsley is rather wasted as the alien in charge of this operation. There's a lot of recognizable actors here, most of them used in pretty one-dimensional roles.

I met actress Cricky Long at a film festival last year (I'm sure she doesn't remember me), and she has a very, very bit part during the AA meeting. From a two minute conversation and a much smaller role, I think I can rule out bias here, but hey, it's a personal connection to a ...vaguely big picture. Interestingly, I have now seen more of her films than are (currently) listed in the IMDB for her...

I'm afraid this one isn't offering any depth, just some surface exploration of familiar stereotypes. At the same time, I was chuckling at the end, so it's really not truly awful either.

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