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Review: ‘A Journey to Planet Sanity’ crash lands in slapdash-parody territory

A scene from "A Journey to Planet Sanity."
(Handout)

“A Journey to Planet Sanity,” Blake Freeman’s comedic documentary and purported quest for “truth,” proves a tedious, half-baked outing. It mostly plays like a slapdash mockumentary crossed with a bad reality TV show.

The engine here is director-star Freeman’s mission to make things right for 69-year-old LeRoy Tessina, a food delivery man whose unfounded fear of aliens and ghosts has caused him emotional and financial distress (he’s supposedly spent his life savings on psychic guidance, among other forms of “protection” from the paranormal). So Freeman, with the game Tessina in tow, attempts to conquer his new pal’s anxieties by tracking down and debunking a mishmash of UFO believers, doomsday theorists, seers, ritualists and even a crop circle expert.

Unfortunately, actor-filmmaker Freeman, his tongue firmly planted in cheek, presents such a one-note array of dubious characters that the movie, intended or not, ends up trading potential credibility and smarts for murky parody.

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In addition, too much time is spent with a grating pair of apparent crackpots: a false-toothed yahoo who contends he’s part-alien/part-angel, and the prattling, seemingly homophobic Prophet Yahweh. But it’s an icky session with a scatomancist (one who tells the future by reading feces) that’s the real low point.

An hour into the movie, gears shift and Freeman is organizing a sale of Tessina’s second-rate paintings to help the would-be artist save his house from foreclosure. Freeman aims for a thematic dovetail here (essentially: people are sheep) but, like much else in the film, sadly, misses.

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“A Journey to Planet Sanity.”

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MPAA Rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Playing: At Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, Santa Monica.

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