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K-PAX

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, and Mary M
cCormack
Directed By: Iain Softley
Rated: PG-13

 

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Admittedly, my undying love for Kevin Spacey forbids me from voicing my true opinion…

But, I will say for those of you who like telegraphed fluff-n-nutter complete with a Spielbergesque soundtrack accenting every blatant metaphor that's been beaten into your head until your sick with all the celluloid fructose you'll love K-PAX.

Extraterrestrial, Prot (Kevin -Sharpei- Spacey), has just arrived on Earth from his home planet of K-PAX. Quicker than you can yell for a cab in Times Square, the NYPD take him into custody and have him committed (like they'd even give a damn if they met another homeless alien adrift on the streets of NYC…go with it).

At the Hospital For Earthbound Aliens in upper Manhattan, Prot doesn't seem to respond to his Thorazine even after he's given enough to whack a quarterhorse, so it's off to the psychiatric center for the scruffy yet adorably harmless alien.

Here he meets Dr. Powell (Jeff- I just wanted to work with Kev, he's a hoot-Bridges). The doctor listens to Prot's stories of K-PAX and starts to wonder if maybe Prot is a missing scientist (who has gone a tad nuts) because Prot's solar and scientific knowledge is remarkable.

Dr. Powell gets Prot a "get out of the mental ward free" card and takes him for a visit to a planetary school filled with extremely important scientists who test Prot's supposed knowledge. In a matter of moments Prot explains the solar system he claims to come from and even solves a space puzzle the team has been pondering for decades…

As the doctors sit, mouths gaping, the soundtrack music is deafeningly triumphant — be warned. They all wonder aloud- "How did this Prot fellow know this stuff !?"

Meanwhile, back at the psychiatric ward a knd of Cocoon meets One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest is surfacing. The inmates, er, patients, have also been listening to Prot's tales of K-PAX and are following his planet's space-age mental healing methods with great success. There are no complete recoveries, but happier happy people shuffle about on their Prozac cocktails at least. Their ward has taken on a nursery school feel, with a predominant spaceship theme, as each patient wants the seat next to Prot when he beams back up to K-PAX in a week. He's promised to take one lucky headcase with him. The place is a flutter.

Dr. Powell is worried the trip back to K-PAX is nothing more than a suicidal warning from a delusional intelligent man who calls himself Prot. He's going to get to the bottom of Prot's mystery (— more deafeningly triumphant music inserted to direct your emotion). Prot just can't be an alien, how ever clever, and how ever much galactic interspacial knowledge his smirking facade holds…or can he.

Kevin Spacey was bound to play a space man at some point. Famous for his wit, no doubt he entered K-PAX with a sly grin and a wink. Mr. Talent has realized all his childhood dreams to date; he got to be Hickey in Eugene O'Neill's mammoth The Iceman Cometh on Broadway, he's won two Oscars in two categories, he's notorious for sparking sexual controversy (always good for films) yet still has an immense regular Joe sex appeal to him, and lastly the beautiful man can sing (and sing well)! I'd do him in a nano-second bald spot, questionable gender preference, hairy back and all. His look in K-PAX only makes him more delectable gals; tough -n- scruffy bearded with no hairpiece, smirking away like the cat who got the fattest mouse, and dressed down in manly layman's gear. You can literally hear the soft purr resonating through-out the female audience at this decidedly manly lad. Still, five o'clock shadow or not it's his next film, The Shipping News, that's got me in a thespian addiction tizzy. This K-PAX was a moonwalk for the lad.

Jeff Bridges, from the dynasty of Bridges, is scrumptious. He's aging very well. The irony of his playing in a movie about a spaceman, opposite Spacey after having been Starman way-back-when was not lost here. Oh, I bet the two stars just rolled with laughter at the end of the shoot over expensive cigars at a posh Beverly Hills smoke club.

K-PAX is a bit over emotional for my tastes; too obvious. And as my mother always says, "If you've got nothing nice to say, blame the director." And here, I believe the director (Iain Softley - who's an extremely handsome chap) is to blame at least for the repetitive hokey music, and replaying of "important" scenes we were not suppose to forget. Trust your audience a little Iain.

I loved Pay it Forward when others pooh-poohed it…I saw American Beauty's beauty, I cheered for Big Kahuna when others jeered it, I brought groups of friends to Usual Suspects before Kevin was Kevin…but, alas this time I must, sadly, pooh-pooh K-PAX.

Snack Recommendation: Bananas (peeled for us Earthlings) and Red Delicious apples

 

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