Within moments of (possibly) arriving on Earth from the titular planet K-PAX, Prot (Kevin Spacey) finds himself incarcerated with a bunch of ”wacky” mental patients and a jaded-but-redeemable shrink (Jeff Bridges). You know — the kind who sneaks a peek at the clock while listening to a patient. The idea is that the uncannily people-friendly alien, who says there is no such thing as family on K-PAX, inspires the doc to become a better man.
The healing process falls flat, though, because the shrink’s family, like the rest of the cast, is out-of-this-world phony. Kids laugh at the word ”K-PAX” as if it’s inherently funny. The doc’s brow-furrowing wife (Mary McCormack) bonds with Prot as if he’s an alien Dr. Phil. None of the suburban angst hits home, and you’ll be as bored as the story — which begins as a doctor-patient drama — veers to in-da-nuthouse black comedy before sinking into rote tick-tock suspense thriller.
It’s as if the makers of this ”Choose Your Own Adventure”-style think piece hope that you’ve forgotten the dewy-soft alien of ”Starman,” the nuances of ”One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and the tragic yearning of ”Awakenings.” Maybe on K-PAX, but on Earth? Never.