A space-set romcom that never achieves lift-off
There have been a fair few romantic movies set in space, including Solaris, Passengers, and The Space Between Us, but very few of them have been comedies. As such, there has long been room for something with a lighter touch, with more laughs than space-bound tragedies and race against time disaster moments.
In theory, Moonshot – a new sci-fi comedy on Now TV and HBO Max – should be the movie to fill that gap. Unfortunately, laughs are thin on the ground, the romance is unconvincing, and the visuals are uninspiring in this space-bound tale.
The movie tells the story of Walt (Cole Sprouse), a good-hearted young coffee shop worker who dreams of going into space. As the movie is set in the future (2049 to be exact), he has the opportunity to turn his dreams into reality as there is a space program that offers a flight to Mars.
Unfortunately, Walt’s dreams never seem to take flight as his applications to the program are constantly rejected. But when he falls in love with Ginny (Emily Rudd) on the night before she flies to the Red Planet, he formulates a plan to smuggle himself onto the ship that she is on.
Walt isn’t the only person wanting to head off into space to be with the person of their dreams. Sophie (Lana Condor), a heartbroken young woman who appears at Walt’s coffee shop, is desperate to be with her boyfriend. When Walt learns that her beau is already on Mars, he encourages her to buy a ticket for the next space shuttle and pretends to be in a relationship with her to justify his existence on the flight.
As Walt and Sophie begin their space-bound journey together, she is initially hostile towards him but over time, the mismatched couple starts to bond. If you’re a connoisseur of romantic movies, you will have no trouble guessing what happens next.
It’s this predictability that scuppers the film as, despite the space shuttle setting, there is nothing to distinguish this from the thousands of other romantic movies that have set their feet on terra firma.
Still, as this is supposed to be a comedy, you are probably expecting a few laughs to break up the familiar boy-meets-girl story. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. Sprouse and Condor do what they can to raise a smile but as they are stuck with a bland script and inconsistent characterisations, they are unable to strike comedy gold with their performances. There are none of the zingers that you would expect in a movie about a chalk-and-cheese coupling and there is little attempt to mine humour from their outer space predicaments.
But hey, this is still a sci-fi movie, so even if the romance is predictable and the comedy is weak, there should still be a few decent special effects moments to offset any problems with the story. Right? Wrong!
The aesthetics of the space shuttle are as bland as the romance and there are very few shots of outer space and Mars. We do get a comic-relief robot but as he is as uninterestingly designed as the rest of the movie, he elicits more sighs than gasps of awe.
In short, this is a movie that offers very little. The two leads have zero chemistry, the story follows well-worn genre tropes, and there are no scenes of interstellar wonder to break up the monotony of the script. There is a late-in-the-day cameo from Zach Braff, who stars as a conniving and greedy Elon Musk-type character, but he doesn’t provide the dramatic tension that the movie needs.
Moonshot is a shallow movie that only fans of the two main stars will be interested in. I want to be kinder and more encouraging about this tired effort but as it patronizes the viewer with its mediocrity, I really don’t have anything nice to say. In space, no one can hear me groan!
Read More: Moonshot Ending Explained
Verdict - 4/10