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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

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1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
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Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

K-PAX, a ONE ALIEN FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST story, concerns a being who may or may not be human and who goes by the name of Prot. Prot is played in another wonderful performance by Kevin Spacey who gives his all to what is essentially a one-note character. Jeff Bridges plays Prot's examining psychiatrist, Dr. Mark Powell.

As in the recent HAPPY ACCIDENTS, in which the central character might be a time-traveler or just a wacko, Prot may be an alien, a crazy alien or just crazy. As the story develops, it isn't quite clear where it is headed and to what extent it will resolve the central issues it poses. Will it, like the film LIMBO, leave most of the audience frustrated with its lack of resolution, or will the answers be spelled out with some clarity? As the movie evolves, most will probably hope to learn that Prot is exactly what he claims to be, a guy from another planet who has mastered flying at seven times the speed of light.

Asked by the cops who first find him to take off his sunglasses, he tells them that he'd rather not since "Your planet is really bright." Prot, who looks sort of like a homeless guy, has hypersensitive eyesight which allows him to see even ultraviolet light. He also has some amazing astronomical knowledge

"Let's hope extraterrestrials qualify for Medicaid," Mark comments when he first gets the bizarre case. Prot is disarmingly funny. He tries to reassure the doc by telling him, "Don't worry. I'm not going to leap out of your chest." Another time, as he munches on a banana like an elephant, eating peel and all, Prot says smiling, "Your produce alone is worth the worth the trip."

K-PAX, directed clumsily by Iain Softley (HACKERS and THE WINGS OF THE DOVE), meanders when it should stay focused and has trouble making the shift from the relatively comedic first half to the more serious second. The movie's two leads, Spacey and Bridges, are quite good, but the supporting cast isn't. Mary McCormack, in particular, brings nothing to the part of Mark's wife.

Our audience broke into applause at the end so they must have really liked it. In the car afterwards, I heard various interpretations of the story, especially the ending, from my wife and son. Personally, I would have preferred a slightly different ending resolution, but the one chosen is fairly satisfying. Suffice it to say that you will have things to talk about on the drive home.

K-PAX runs a little too long at 2:05. It is rated PG-13 for "a sequence of violent images, and brief language and sensuality" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave the film ***. He thought the plot was very, very interesting, and he liked the twists along the way. On the other hand, he disagreed vehemently with his mother, who thought it was a great film. He liked it but not near as much as she did.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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