K-PAX -- ***1/2 (out of 5) (2001)
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack, Alfre Woodard, Ajay Naidu
Directed By Iain Softley
K-PAX is the name of the planet that Prot (played by Kevin Spacey) claims to come from. Of course, claiming to come from any planet other than Earth will most likely get your ass tossed in the loony bin, and that is precisely where Prot's ass ends up. It is there that psychiatrist Mark Powell (Bridges) takes on the challenge of cracking Prot to find the man he was before he thought himself an alien from another world. Powell finds time is running out though, because Prot says he is returning to K-PAX in the very near future.
K-PAX is a very well-done fantasy-drama that is mostly driven by the terrific performances of the two leads. Although the talents of the leads have been well established in previous works, Spacey still continues to amaze, whether he is in emotional pain undergoing hypnosis or even eating an entire banana without batting an eye. Bridges offers the film a foundation of normality, and although he doesn't have to be as flashy as Spacey in the film, he turns in a very difficult performance in trying to balance whether he believes Prot's story or thinks it a total crock from the mind of a neurotic.
Although the final third of the film is a bit anti-climactic in terms of momentum, the build-up offered serves up enough entertainment and interest to make K-PAX satisfying enough as a whole. K-PAX is intelligently written, and delivered with professional ease. No, it isn't groundbreaking or particularly original, but a competently crafted film sure to satisfy most. Kudos to the Space-man for another winner.
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