On-Line Review by Christian Leopold Shea:


2001 by Christian Leopold Shea. All rights reserved.

Kevin Spacey's "Prot" enjoys a banana.

K-PAX, directed by Iain Softley, from Charles Leavitt's screenplay of Gene Brewer's novel, can be summed up as: "Don Juan DeMarco Meets The 50 Minute Hour."

Unlike Johnny Depp's Don Juan DeMarco, however, Kevin Spacey's Prot (pronounced with a long "o" to rhyme with "stoat"), doesn't think he's a famous historical seducer, he says that he is from the planet K-PAX, 1000 light years from Earth, and sex is messy and unpleasant on his world. But he is arrested. And he is locked up in a very, very, very, very nice psychiatric hospital, where, instead of teaching psychiatrist Marlon Brando how to love, he teaches psychiatrist Jeff Bridges how to love. He also gets many of the staff to believe his story. And his shrink doesn't want to keep him stoned on medications, but wants him to express himself to get to the root of his supposed psychosis. And there is a tragic death story set in a desert in his murky background. And the hospital staff begin to believe him. And the patients begin to believe him. And he teaches the sick at heart (or in the psyche) to be whole again. And he teaches his shrink how to love again. And, of course, at the end, he probably has been telling the truth all along, because the movie has a (presumably) happy ending. He doesn't wear a mask, though -- he wears a pair of sunglasses, which he, like Don Juan DeMarco, abandons at the end of the film.

Brian Howe plays an astrophysicist dazzled by Prot's knowledge.

Prot's story may be familiar to students of psychology, because it is just a souped-up and fictionalized version of the true story of a (presumably) demented rocket scientist who believed that he was from another planet and who managed to half-convince his psychiatrist of the truth of his story with detailed accounts of his supposed adventures and the scientific wonders of which ordinary human beings were unaware. The story was published decades ago in The Fifty Minute Hour.

K-PAX seemed to me to be wholly derivative. From scene to scene one could predict what would happen five minutes later. Still, the film is not too bad. I give it 6 Stars -- it's worth seeing for a reduced price admission.

Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges aren't supposed to be Johhny Depp and Marlon Brando, but....

With the rise in theater ticket prices and the growing international audience of our page, our old NW2: Not Worth $2 (U. S. dollars) to W8: Worth $8 rating scale has become less useful than previously, so, in line with the scale used by the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) we have adopted a scale of 1 star to 10 stars, with "1 Star" being a VERY bad movie, and "10 Stars" being a movie classic. Our On-Line Reviewer, however, has gone where IMDb has never gone before: he has added a score of Zero for those movies which are so bad that they are not even good "camp" -- movies so bad that not even "Mystery Science Theater 3000" could could make them worth watching.

On this scale, anything rated "7 Stars" or above is definitely worth the cost of a theater ticket, "8 Stars" is worth standing in line to buy a ticket, "9 Stars" is worth standing in line in a driving rain rainstorm or severe heatwave or moderate windstorm to buy a ticket, and "10 Stars" is a movie worth driving hundreds of miles to go see -- at least in Dr. Shea's own opinion. Accordingly,

K-PAX is a 6 Star movie.

Try to catch it at a bargain matinee.

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