Space Station 76
Starring Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Marisa Coughlan, Matt Bomer, Jerry O'Connell
This was the most out of this world film I saw at SXSW. Space Station 76 takes 70’s soap opera drama into space–literally. It almost feels like a joke until the joke wears thin. The elevator music, classic songs, wardrobe and acting that mirrors That 70’s Show at times all work together to present this sort of feature version of Days of Our Lives, only with the characters living on a space ship. The higher and lower class, pill poppers, couples cheating on each other, and homosexual secrets are all in here. The scenes that gained the most laughs from audiences involved a robot therapist about the size of a blender. The standardized answers it would give were hilarious.
Space Station 76 is a smaller vessel floating in space that has just received a new co-captain, who is one of the only females in the program. Jessica (Tyler) brings a new energy to the ship, intimidating Captain Glenn (Wilson) and making the desperate housewives very nervous. About 20 people live on 76, which has its own arboretum, cafeteria and apartment type living space for each family. Sunshine (Kylie Rogers) is the daughter of mechanic Ted (Bomer) and Misty (Coughlan), who are having marital problems that are made worse by Ted and Sunshine’s friendship with her. Captain Glenn continues to ignore Jessica’s warnings about asteroids colliding with their station because he doesn’t like the idea of a woman with an intelligent voice.
The scenes that gained the most laughs from audiences involved a robot therapist about the size of a blender.
The special effects, mostly showing the exterior of the ship, are actually quite impressive for a film that was likely made for very little. Wilson (Little Children) plays the closeted captain, a character outside his comfort zone, while Bomer (Magic Mike) once again plays the lusted after male. Liv Tyler (The Lord of the Rings), who has been absent from film of late, nearly soothes all the films problems away with her calming voice and ethereal demeanor. Space Station 76 has a lot going for it; it’s very grounded in the type of film it wants to be, but that film just isn’t sustainably interesting for an entire feature.
This material might have worked better as a running comedy skit on SNL. It’s mixture of dramatic moments seem almost counterintuitive against its more ridiculous moments, including two scenes of masturbation. The glowing female star shining bright and fully nude outside Ted’s window is also one of those out there moments that takes the viewer outside the few dramatic bits the film creates. Maybe this is what a full length Jetson’s interpretation might look like?
Manages a few funny moments but overall the ridiculousness ruins any relevancy it has.