What Planet Are You From?

What Planet Are You From? is a 2000 American science fiction comedy film directed by Mike Nichols and written by Michael Leeson, Garry Shandling, Ed Solomon, and Peter Tolan[1] based on a story by Leeson and Shandling. The film stars Shandling, Annette Bening, Greg Kinnear, Ben Kingsley, Linda Fiorentino, and John Goodman.[1]

What Planet Are You From?
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMike Nichols
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Michael Leeson
  • Garry Shandling
Produced by
  • Neil Machlis
  • Mike Nichols
  • Garry Shandling
CinematographyMichael Ballhaus
Edited byRichard Marks
Music byCarter Burwell
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • March 3, 2000 (2000-03-03)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$60 million
Box office$14.1 million


A denizen (Garry Shandling) of a faraway planet occupied only by highly evolved males is ordered by his superior, Graydon (Ben Kingsley), to find a female human, impregnate her and bring the baby back to the planet.

The visitor to Earth ends up in Phoenix, Arizona, where he assumes the name Harold Anderson and takes a job in a bank. There he meets a womanizing co-worker Perry Gordon (Greg Kinnear), who goes to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings strictly to meet women. Harold accompanies him to one and meets Susan (Annette Bening), a recovering alcoholic.

He must marry her before he can try to mate. After their wedding in Las Vegas, Susan finds herself wildly satisfied by Harold, even though men from his planet have no genitals and he has been equipped for his Earth visit with a penis that makes a loud whirring sound whenever he gets an erection.

Harold and Susan have a difficult time conceiving a baby. Meanwhile, Roland Jones (John Goodman), an employee of the FAA who learned of Harold's odd behavior on an airplane, has become obsessed with proving him to be an alien and being the first one to find him.

When the child is born, Harold, following orders, abandons his wife and returns to his planet, but his sadness over hurting Susan leaves him with guilt and second thoughts even though people from his world theoretically have no emotions, so against the wishes of Graydon, he returns the baby to Susan and tells her the truth. Susan is angry, grateful, and completely disbelieving. Harold offers to prove that he is in fact an alien and does so just as Roland arrives, viewing Harold's "act of proof" through the window. Instead of forgiving him and welcoming him back into their relationship, Susan breaks down in tears, saying, "I thought I had things right but then I married an alien!" Harold leaves.

Once outside, Harold sees Roland, who is delighted to know he was right all along about Harold being an alien. Roland implores Harold to come with him and admit this to his wife, who doesn't believe him about Harold. Harold charitably agrees, but before that can happen, Graydon shows up with a phaser. Holding Harold at gunpoint, he declares he's taking Harold back. Roland pulls his gun on the leader, who brags, "none of your primitive weapons can hurt me, and I can heal instantly from anything," and shoots him in the chest. Graydon falls dead into the fountain.

Susan comes outside and says she thinks they should try to patch things up after all. Roland happily walks off with Graydon's alien body. Susan and Harold retake their vows in the wedding she says she always wanted. On the drive home, he tells her that the citizens of his planet want him to take over as leader. They discuss it, but she doesn't want to move since all her friends are here, and she knows nothing about the school system there. Harold grudgingly agrees to make the very long commute.



What Planet Are You From? opened theatrically on March 3, 2000, in 2,248 venues, earning $3,008,746 in its first weekend and ranking fourteenth in the North American box office.[2] The film ended its run, having grossed $6,291,602 domestically and $7,854,075 overseas for a worldwide total of $14,145,677. Based on a $60 million budget, the film was a box office bomb.[3]


The film holds a 42% score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 77 reviews and average rating of 5.01/10. The site's consensus states: "Though What Planet Are You From? has some laughs, it's too inconsistent and bland for critics to give it their recommendations."[4] Metacritic reports a 41 out of 100 rating based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5]


  1. ^ a b "What Planet Are You From?". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  2. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for March 3-5, 2000". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. March 6, 2000. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  3. ^ "What Planet Are You From? (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  4. ^ "What Planet Are You From? (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "What Planet Are You From? reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 26, 2016.

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