Wednesday 10 July 2024

Prime Time: Space Cadet (2024)

The only reason that this film wasn't titled NASAlly Blonde is because we'd all assume that it was about some poor young woman making the huge mistake while dyeing her nostril hairs, but you can trust me when I say that this could have easily been given that name.

Emma Roberts stars as Rex Simpson, a young Florida woman who has always dreamed of becoming an astronaut. She had the potential to make that dream a reality, but life threw up numerous obstacles that put her in a kind of limbo for about a decade. Determined to make up for lost time after her experience at a school reunion, however, Rex applies to join the NASA astronaut training program. Having asked her friend, Nadine (Poppy Liu), to polish and finesse her application, she is initially unaware that her resume is full of huge lies. Maybe things will work out though. Simpson has the brains, despite what others may think, she knows how to support those around her, and she has the ability to approach problems from some unusual angles. 

Space Cadet is ridiculous, it feels quite cheap, and it's, well, I have to repeat that it's ridiculous. It's also a bit of fun for anyone who selects it while knowing what they're getting into. Roberts is appealing enough in the lead role, Liu steals a number of scenes as her BFF, and the standard moral about achieving the potential that others may not see within you is a good one.

Written and directed by Liz W. Garcia (her third feature, unless I have miscounted), this should have enough light chuckles and silliness to appeal to those who enjoyed the film it wants to emulate, Legally Blonde (which is beloved by many). There are fish out of water moments, of course, some other wannabe astronauts who react to our lead character in very different ways, and a stuffy authority figure who cannot quite believe he is becoming a bit smitten while he obviously becomes a bit smitten. There's also a soundtrack that was so painful to me, for the most part, that I can only assume that teen viewers will probably love it.

Roberts is consistently bright and perky throughout, as required, and Liu is a great counter to her, but there is fun to be had with some of the supporting cast members. Tom Hopper is Logan O'Leary, the aforementioned stuffy authority figure, and he does what is required for the role, Gabrielle Union is welcome for her few scenes, and Dave Foley is the man presiding over what he hopes will be a successful training schedule to help find those who deserve a shot at space travel. Desi Lydic is the uptight professional who remains suspicious of our lead, Kuhoo Verma is a roommate/friend, and Yasha Jackson, Andrew Call, and Josephine Huang round out the core group of trainees who get enough screentime to feel more fully fleshed-out than those who just pop in and out of the narrative. 

The important thing here is that I didn't hate this. I was never the intended target demographic, and I knew that from the very start, but I hoped that there would be just enough for me to still enjoy it for most of the runtime. And there was. Just. Other viewers may not even find themselves moved to an occasional smirk, but a few will love it for how cute and silly it is. Sometimes cute and silly is just what the doctor ordered.


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1 comment:

  1. I don't think I'd be the intended audience either. Maybe I'd watch it if I couldn't find anything else.