Cinema: Can Irony Kill Comedy?

A survey of the current spate of funny movies affirms that giving mirth is never easy

Harold Anderson (Garry Shandling) is a visitor from a faraway, all-male, procreatively challenged planet. His mission on earth is to impregnate a woman and bring their offspring home for breeding purposes. To accomplish the task, he has been equipped with an artificial metal penis, which hums audibly when its interest is, shall we say, aroused. Why does it do that? Because "it doesn't know the words," snaps Linda Fiorentino, playing a woman immune to Harold's charms.

That's the best joke in What Planet Are You From? Considering the number of variations played on it, you might argue that it's the only...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!