What Planet Are You From?

What Planet Are You From? (1999)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Garry Shandling, Annette Bening, John Goodman, Greg Kinnear, Ben Kingsley
Extras: Theatrical Trailer, Bonus Trailers, Featurette, Isolated Score, Talent Files

The movie ’What Planet Are You From?’ has an interesting concept. Garry Shandling plays an alien from a planet which is ’way the hell out there’ in space and is inhabited solely by men. Shandling is sent to Earth, where his mission is to allow a female to be impregnated by using incredibly stale and cliched pick-up lines. Of course, he soon learns that human relationships are very complicated and that his mission won’t be as easy as he thought. He is able to woo Susan (Annette Bening), but he finds that having a wife opens up a new world of difficulties.

’What Planet Are You From?’ is like a cross between ’Starman’ and ’When Harry Met Sally’ minus any humor. The film does have some funny lines from Shandling, and good performances from the cast which includes John Goodman, Greg Kinnear, Linda Fiorentino, and Ben Kingsley. But overall, the film’s attempt at mixing bittersweet romantic comedy with a social commentary doesn’t work.

The Columbia TriStar Home Video DVD of ’What Planet Are You From?’ offers the film in both a full-frame version and a widescreen version. The widescreen version is an anamorphic widescreen which is letterboxed at 1.85:1. The image is very crisp and clear, revealing only a subtle amount of grain at times. There are no visible defects in the source print. The colors are very nicely presented (something that Mike Nichols always seems to strive for in his films). The framing appears to be accurate and there is no obvious artifacting of the image.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix is very nice, offering clear and distinguishable dialogue, which presenting pleasing surround sound during the interstellar travel scenes. There is also an optional Dolby 2-channel surround soundtrack.

The DVD offers the theatrical trailer for ’What Planet Are You From?’ in a full-frame format. There are also four bonus trailers; ’Bugsy’, ’Wolf’, ’Men in Black’, and ’As Good As It Gets’. The ’Men In Black’ trailer is letterboxed and is in Dolby Digital 5.1. It looks and sounds great! I hope that this is an indication of how the ’MIB’ DVD will be. The DVD presents the option of listening to the musical score only while watching the film. There is a featurette that runs for about five minutes, which offers interviews with most of the cast. There are talent files with filmographies on the disc as well.