Movie Review: ‘Space Cadet’

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Featured Post, Movie Reviews, Movies | 0 comments

Greetings again from the darkness. We have accepted that a bartender can get elected as a United States Senator, and writer-director Liz W Garcia would have us believe a bartender may also become an astronaut … but only after submitting a fraudulent application with details, accomplishments, and references that NASA wouldn’t bother verifying until after admission into the program.

Of course, we know going in that Garcia’s film is a comedy, and in no way should be compared to the fine film, A MILLION MILES AWAY (2023), a biopic on Jose Hernandez, a farm worker who actually accomplished the things required to become an astronaut. “Rex” (played by Emma Roberts, daughter of Eric and niece to Julia) is a party girl bartender attending her 10-year high school reunion with her BFF Nadine (Poppy Liu, “Hacks”). We learn Rex had a childhood dream of going to space – a dream fully supported by her mother, who has since passed. Rex’s strong academic record gained her admission to college, but mom’s death seemed to knock her off the space track and into a life of parties and pouring drinks and dressing like a 13-year-old girl.

With a newfound inspiration, Rex fires off a heartfelt letter to Nassau asking for admission into the program. The letter is intercepted and, well, enhanced, by a well-meaning Nadine. Soon, Rex is packing up her bedazzled clothes and heading to NASA. Program directors Logan O’Leary (a heavily lipsticked Tom Hopper, I FEEL PRETTY, 2018) and Pam Proctor (Gabrielle Union, BRING IT ON, 2000) aren’t sure what to make of Rex, though remained impressed with her application, even as she excels in leadership and flounders in technical aspects.

The ASCANS (Astronaut Candidate) program is not realistically depicted here, and it’s not surprising that Rex survives each round of cuts. And yes, we all know where this is headed, as surprise is not a factor in any aspect of this film. The film’s title is obviously a play on words, and if you somehow believe more cringe is needed, a budding romance (also obvious) is tossed in to make sure no one takes this NASA seriously. The ending takes us right where we know we’re headed, and we find ourselves wondering why any filmmaker, much less a female filmmaker, would purposefully portray an intelligent woman in this flighty manner. Comedies are no doubt tough to execute, but the best are grounded in some form of reality. Perhaps there’s a bartender out there somewhere that will cure cancer or solve world hunger. Let’s just hope fraudulent applications aren’t the new norm.

Releases on Prime Video on July 4, 2024

David Ferguson