Qreview:‘K-PAX’ has rough landing

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There actually are two “K-PAX”s — a sci-fi drama and a psychological mystery.

On their own, both have some strong points, but sewn together, they don’t quite mesh. Throw in some massive overacting from Kevin Spacey (“The Usual Suspect”) and you have a film that shows promise, but ultimately misfires.

Appearing in Grand Central terminal, seemingly out of nowhere, Spacey claims to be a visitor from the planet K-PAX, come to earth to observe us primitives (even though he says at one time that our delicious produce was worth the trip). A couple of cops aren’t impressed and promptly toss him in the

booby hatch where he is placed under the care of headshrinker Jeff Bridges (“The Contender”). When Dr. Jeff isn’t ignoring his family (guess who will set that straight?) he’s working hard trying to cure the usual bunch of harmless, even pleasant, patients — that is, until he meets the Spaceman. After a while it becomes a personal mission for Bridges — he’ll either rescue a deluded nut or learn all that he can from an otherworldly being.

Most of this first “K-PAX” is about Kevin Spacey overacting. His crooked smile and wise-aleck deadpanning (with slight head tilt) go on for nearly an hour. It’s these personal contributions that transform a rather dull robotic character into a smug Mr. Spock.

In the second half Spacey mercifully relaxes, letting the more controlled Jeff Bridges take over. It’s here where the film shifts and the psychological probing becomes intense. Going any deeper into the story might give away the ending, so I won’t.

But I will say this: hypnosis should have no part in a respectable movie.

Reach Qguide reviewer Glenn Ferrara by e-mail at timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

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