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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: K-PAX

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges
Director: Iain Softley
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 125 Minutes
Release Date: October 2001
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Alfre Woodard, Mary McCormack, Brian Howe, Mary Mara, Aaron Paul, David Patrick Kelly

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Prot (Kevin Spacey) is a curious fellow. Arriving, it would seem, on a beam of light, he emerges in the midst of a crowd in Grand Central Station, claiming he's from the planet K-PAX and eager to sample our produce, particularly Red Delicious apples and bananas, which he eats, peel and all, when he's incarcerated at the Manhattan Psychiatric Institute. Because of his incredible intelligence, astonishing knowledge of astrophysics and inhuman tolerance to medication, Prot captures the interest of a pragmatic but curious consultant, Dr. Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges), who murmurs, "Let's hope extra-terrestrials qualify for Medicaid." While Powell asks probing questions and attempts to penetrate Prot's mind, the gentle, amiable alien gains great popularity among his fellow inmates, each of whom wants to accompany him back to K-PAX on his return. Up to this point, screenwriter Charles Levitt, who adapted Gene Brewer's sci-fi novel, and director Ian Softley have fashioned a charming, fantastical allegory, making Prot not unlike Jesus, and pitching pithy psychological points about the importance of families and human interaction. (The theme is: "Get it right this time - because this time is all you have.") Then, suddenly, plummeting in an earthbound spiral, the plot veers into uncharted melodramatic territory, making Dr. Powell into an amateur detective, determined to discover the truth about a murder in New Mexico. Mercifully, the conclusion is left somewhat ambiguous: is Prot really from K-PAX, having assumed someone else's body for his visit here, or is he simply a psychotic man with a traumatic secret? On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "K-PAX" is an insipid, delusional 5, but your enjoyment is entirely dependent on your ability to suspend disbelief.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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