This was the directorial debut of Marshall Brickman, Woody Allen's cowriter on ANNIE HALL, and the film could have used his erstwhile collaborator's instinct for cutting what doesn't work. Alan Arkin is an eccentric professor at a New York college who likes to hang out in a sensory
deprivation tank. Members of a "think tank" (Austin Pendleton, Wallace Shawn, and Madeline Kahn) decide to create an alien--they need someone who can be brainwashed to think he's an alien--and unleash him upon society. Naturally, they choose Arkin as their subject. The film generates a few laughs,
but it becomes preachy when it takes on weighty subjects such as military oppression and in...