K-PAX

kpax

“You humans and the clichéd slop you pass off as drama.”
That’s the sort of thing “Prot” keeps saying in K-PAX. “You, humans with
you’re Jesus and you’re this and you’re that.” He sounds more like Perot. He has
all sorts of trite assessments of humans too, like that we might blow ourselves up
at any time and that “eye for an eye” is a bankrupt concept of justice. Yeah,
thanks for the tip. Maybe we should also practice greater tolerance and take
better care of the environment.

That’s the kind of film this is. Dr. Powell works very
hard and cares deeply about his patients, but doesn’t pay enough attention to his
family. That is, until Prot shows him the error oh his ways. The mental patients
are like an eclectic bunch of sad, innocent children. And they can see things the
sane can’t see. Prot can talk to dogs, and although he sees humans as primitive,
he is touched by the emotional connections they have to one another.

In other words, this film is built primarily from
sentimentality and cliché, and it gets pretty boring pretty fast. If you like
that sort of thing, well knock yourself out with this one. Please. But I don’t
get anything out of it. These characters and events seem designed to provoke a
reaction, rather than according to their own logic. But that gives everything an
artificial feel, which has the consequence of undermining any reaction.

I liked some things about this film. Most importantly, I
liked the way the question of Prot’s true identity was handled. (spoiler) At the end
of the film it seems very unlikely that he is an alien, and very unlikely that he is

not an alien, except for the fact that one or the other must be true. If he’s not an
alien, Prot is a seemingly impossible genius in both physics and psychiatry and a pet
psychic to boot. There are also some impressive coincidences to explain. If he is an
alien–well, he’s an alien. And one who never gives an absolute demonstration of that
fact, even though there is a far-fetched scenario according to which he might not be an
alien. The film carries off this balancing act perfectly, and I would perk up when
ever this question was being addressed.

If everything around the alien issue wasn’t so hackneyed,
K-PAX might have been pretty good. If, for example, Prot said things that
would alter one’s world view, like, that plants felt pain or that matter didn’t
exist, you wouldn’t wonder if he was an alien just because you wondered if he was
an alien. You’d wonder if he was an alien because you wondered if he was an alien
which would mean that plants felt pain and matter didn’t exist. Instead of that,
we found out what would happen if you crossed Phenomenon with Contact.


DVD Extras

The extras were adequate. There’s an alternate ending that presents the
same information in a different way, some deleted scenes and so on. I listened to
some of the commentary by Softley. It was decent. Listening to the commentary on a
film like this can be interesting in that, even though the film seems cookie cutter,
you realize that a lot of thought went into it. My guess is that too much of that input
came from marketing people and Kevin Spacey’s agent. Too bad.

  • Film overall: 3.5
  • Directing: 4
  • Acting: 5
  • Story:3
  • DVD Goodies: 6
  • Number of beers needed to completely enjoy this film: 8
  • Number of times I paused the movie to do something else: 1
  • The Award Winning Pornographer Decrees…

    For starters, this movie is a decade and a half too late. Certainly
    this kind of sentimental “kinder, gentler” extra-terrestrial plot line
    was played out after E.T., wasn’t it? Realistically, after Ridley Scott
    or Star Ship Troopers or Predator or Mimic or The Faculty or New Wave
    Hookers 5, the only friendly aliens left are Alf, a confessed cat
    killer, or Cheech and Chong. This does not deter director Ian Softley
    from attempting his Phenomenon
    rip-off. Here’s how it goes, Kevin Spacey plays Prot (pr-oat) who is
    either an extra-terrestrial from the planet K-Pax that has used light
    transfer to travel faster than the speed of light to visit his earth
    friend and collect reports on our class B planet, early stages of
    evolution/future uncertain, or he’s a schizophrenic/savant with ESP
    whose split personality is a fucking genius. Yes, he looks like a
    human, a plot point they explain in early dialogue when Prot says, “Why
    is a soap bubble round? It’s just the most efficient form in nature.”
    This lead me to believe that K-Paxians should look like large, slimy,
    amoeba’s or a cross between them and Ron Jeremy.
    The unfortunate thing about the plot is that we never find out which it
    is, eveb though they go out of their way to supply evidence for both
    sides of the argument. But hey, it’s not like we can sue the writer in
    the world court. Can we sue him in the world court? [Ed Note – No, you
    can’t. I tried to sue the pussy who in 1989 wrote in Rolling Stone that
    EMF were the next Beatles Didn’t go well.]

    What’s bad about K-Pax?

    1. There are too many holes in the plot.
    2. The convincing facial ticks that Jeff Bridges utilizes in all
      of his work make you feel like a bomb is going to go off any second,
      whether he’s ordering lunch or defusing a violent situation in the
      Manhattan Psychiatric Ward, and there is only so much I can take of
      that. Bridges has to remember doing movies like The Fisher King and The Big Lebowski and see that, while K-Pax is no Dude Where’s My Car?, it’s not far from it in terms of overall crapulence.
    3. The soundtrack is like being stuck in an elevator with Enya playing for six hours.
    4. There is no sex in the movie, hot chicks, or strip clubs.
    5. The title. Seriously, saying you’re from K-Pax is kind of like
      saying you’re from the Vidal Sassoon Galaxy in the Aqua Net Solar
      System. Either this is the crassest form of product placement or Revlon
      should get a truckload of lawyers and sue the producers into
      destitution. Wait a minute That gives me an idea for a porn script – an
      all black anal movie based on Soul Glow!
    6. The “golly gee” and the “shucks” moments all but ruin the
      excellent delivery of Kevin Spacey on an otherwise pile of shit script
      and, even though he is good, Kevin Spacey isn’t Jody Foster and this
      isn’t Contact.
    7. The DVD rental doesn’t come with Xanex or Jeigarmeister, two
      things that go great together and would have made this movie worth
      sleeping through.
    8. The ending. Is Prot nuts, or is he an alien? If he is an
      alien then why did he leave his body behind? If he’s human, then how
      did he know about distant galaxies that are unseen without a telescope?
      And how could he plot the course of their planets from memory to such a
      degree that leading astrophysicists could only conclude that he had to
      have been there? If you’re going to pull my dick the whole movie, the
      least you could do is spell it out for me.
    9. The DVD extra’s. Dumb and pointless, including un-watchable
      Director’s commentary, boring deleted scenes, and assorted other
      garbage.

    What’s good about K-Pax?

    1. Kevin Spacey, need I say more?
    2. The lack of special effects. This may seem like a mark against
      the movie but the way I see it most movies have such shitty effects
      anyway, yes even Spielberg the Terrible’s movies, that they ruin parts
      of the film. It would have been easy to have sunk to the level of other
      directors and used some kind of alien gimmick, even something like V or Cocoon and ruined the little that was good in the film.
    3. Jar Jar Binks was not in the movie. It’s true.
    4. The music on the DVD menu can be turned down and used for sleeping.
    5. There were no pop stars or rappers in K-Pax. No guest
      appearances by Snoop Dogg, L.L. Cool J, Kid Rock, or Fred Durst. In
      fact, there were no cameos of any kind, and that is like a breath of
      fresh air.

    Overall, K-Pax is a totally forgettable movie that
    could have gone in a different direction and done much better. Jeff
    Bridges and Kevin Spacey have every right to feel ripped off by the way
    K-Pax turned out. Same goes for the viewing audience.


    RUTHLESS RATINGS

    • Overall – 3
    • Acting – 7
    • Direction – 2
    • Number of times I wished I was on Endor – 2
    • Number of times i wished I had watched Femalien instead – 6
    • Number of times I wondered if Steve Guttenberg is going to do another Police Academy movie – 2
    • Number of times I stroked it – 0
About Plexico Gingrich

Plexico likes to gamble. He writes for a boxing site which you can visit: here
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