Movie Reviews

K-Pax

K-Pax Poster

The other night, I unfortunately rented and watched the movie K-Pax that asks the question: Is there intelligent life out there? The answer: no. This movie would have been just as good if I had been watching Kevin Spacey milling around his house, doing laundry or making tea, because that’s really the only worth that is in this movie. However, throughout the movie, one will realize that even Mr. Spacey could do nothing to save this picture.

The movie bases around the character of Prot, an alien from the planet K-Pax from a solar system in the constellation Lyra. He makes no effort to hide the fact that he is a visiting alien, and also makes no effort to develop the character. The Prot you see appearing in Grand Central Station is the same one you see staring into the sun at the end (which is something I considered doing by the end too). However, the other characters are just as bad, and even more poorly written. First of all, we have Dr. Powell, played by Jeff (”I’m the dude”) Bridges, who goes home to his incredibly stereotypical wife who stays home and takes care of the neglected kids because, you guessed it, father is too involved in his work to spend any time with his family. Blah dee blah. This is the same lame storyline we’ve seen a thousand times, and in K-Pax, they don’t even try to twist this same old plot, like in The Sixth Sense or Heat. Instead, what you see is what you get. And then, to top it all off, guess what the moral that Dr. Powell needs to learn is? He needs to make amends with his son. My heart is warmed (I hope you sense the sarcasm, because I’m laying it on pretty thick).

And the ending made me even angrier. Instead of twisting it and having Prot actually just be a guy who’s nuts, or have him actually be an alien, they wuss out and try to pull off both. I’m sorry, but it’s either one or the other, you cannot have both. Any sense of virtue or validity was instantly lost at that point. So what does the Doctor learn from all of this? That he must make every moment count (Carpe Diem! Yet another overused plot point) and make amends with his family, especially his son. From the moment Dr. Powell goes home in the third scene of the movie and encounters his wife who says something to the extent of “If you’d spend more time at home…,” you can figure out exactly what’s going to happen throughout the rest of the movie. Boo.

However, my biggest complaint is the writing. Almost all the dialogue in the movie is so poorly written that it almost makes you laugh. Here are a couple of my favorites:

– In one of the final scenes, Powell is eating chinese food with his wife (neglected, remember) and they are reminiscing over a chinese restaurant where they used to go.

Powell: And the fortune cookies never had any fortunes in them.

Mrs. Powell: We didn’t need any.

– In another scene, Powell is talking on the phone with his friend, figuring out why Prot knows so much about his home solar system, when he says:

Friend: The only person that would know that is my boss Dr. Something, one of the four leading astrophysicists in the world.

So there’s a couple examples of terribly written dialogue.

So overall, nothing short of Kevin Spacey flipping a cigarette in his mouth and turning into Keyser Soze could have saved this movie. But it’s a good moral overall – “Bad writing will not make a good movie, no matter the star power.” Something Hollywood needs to get the hang of.

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