Main cast: Kevin Spacey (Prot), Jeff Bridges (Dr Mark Powell), Mary McCormack (Rachel Powell), and David Patrick Kelly (Howie)
Director: Iain Softley
I’m the perfect target audience for this movie. I’m sappy and I love romantic whimsical movies about life’s sunny side (yes, I’m not joking and why are y’all looking at me like that?). But there’s something rather smug and arrogant about K-PAX, and that’s not just Kevin Spacey, that makes me want to get up and bitch slap somebody as the second hour rolls on.
Based on Gene Brewer’s 1996 book of the same name, this story concerns a man named Prot. He claims to be an alien from an advanced planet a thousand light years away from Earth. On planet K-PAX, people travel on light and they are the perfect Communist community. No doctors, no wars, no pain, no crime, no broken family. Children are brought up obedient and nice by the entire community, and no doubt these kids don’t do the rebellion and sex-and-drugs thing. If you ask me, it sounds like hell. Or an Amish community.
Dr Mark Powell is the doc in the madhouse where Prot is enjoying life in. Prot soon bewilders him when he starts doing things that seem to defy possibility (and logic) – is Prot really from K-PAX? And as Prot preach about sweet novel values of love and saccharine in a most diabetes-inducing way, Mark soon learns about important lessons in life.
Ah, life. I tell you, I’m so inspired, I’m going to close my eyes, spread my arms wide, and run blindly out of the house to enjoy the sun on my skin and live my life in deep contemplation. Who needs to work or chase after materialistic stuff? Listen to Prot: life’s now. And if I get run down by a truck, I’m gonna freaking sue the idiots who made this movie for every penny they have and more.
The brightest and gentlest sparks in this manipulative soggy biscuit of a movie are Jeff Bridges and David Patrick Kelly. Mr Bridges plays a role reversal of his well-known Starman thing, but he has the same wide-eyed wholesomeness. He’s so nice and affable that he is like the gentle reed that eventually bends to whichever way the wind that is Prot is blowing. (And no, I’m making insinuations about Kevin Spacey’s sex life with that sentence; I’m saying this because my lawyers tells me to.) Likewise, Mr Kelly gives a gentle yet moving performance as a control freak nutcase who becomes a better person thanks to Protus Christ here.
The cinematography is excellent, by the way. Light is never this beautiful (did someone say “Thomas Kinkade“…?). But the movie’s heavy-handed preachiness only intensifies as the minutes tick by, and when the credits roll, I’m more than happy to get into the car, roll down the window, and yell “YOU SONS OF BITCHES!” at the first person I meet, if only to reassure myself that I’m not trapped in the Care Bear nightmare that is K-PAX.