Kevin Spacey's new movie isn't exactly the comedy its promos suggest
Kevin Spacey, K-Pax
Credit: Kevin Spacey: Tomo Ikic/ZUMA Press

You’d never guess it from the trailers for ”K-PAX,” but in this otherwise upbeat story about Prot (Kevin Spacey), a man who may or may not be a space alien, there’s dark and violent incident at its core. Instead, the ads for this adaptation of Gene Brewer’s 1995 novel play up the cuddlier aspects of the story, such the hero’s quirky sense of humor and passion for eating unpeeled bananas.

Not surprisingly, the cute commercials have some involved with the film feeling uneasy. ”We’ve said this TV spot looks like ‘Mork and Mindy,’ and that’s horrible,” says producer Larry Gordon. ”Some are good, some we don’t like. But it’s something we can’t fight. The final say on marketing is the studio’s.”

Gordon adds that he’s powerless to battle bad or misleading ads because most studios — including Universal, which is releasing ”K-PAX” — put their faith in audience testing for not only movies, but marketing campaigns as well. ”They test everything,” he says. ”They even test the tests!” (Universal didn’t return’s calls by press time.)

Even Spacey admits that his star power doesn’t have much impact on the direction of a studio ad campaign. ”You’re only as involved as they want you to be,” says the two-time Oscar winner. ”Last year I had a film come out [‘Pay It Forward’] that I was completely exonerated from being involved in any of the advertising, and I felt it was a disservice to the film.”

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