Space Station 76

Posted by Joel Copling on October 15, 2014

"Space Station 76" would like to think it's a lot cleverer than what really shows up onscreen. This is, very broadly, a parody of 1968's science-fiction masterpiece "2001: A Space Odyssey"--emphasis on the "broadly." It's filled with so many dimbrained characters and shrill confrontations that any sort of goodwill built up for them by some surprisingly dramatic personal histories is brutally murdered to death when any of them open their mouths to talk. A handful of solid performances and one, surprisingly successful joke can't ultimately lift the stuff surrounding them to any level higher than "harmless but slightly annoying."

Space Station 76 is just one of a fleet. At the captaincy is Glenn (Patrick Wilson), who is suffering from drunken loneliness after the mysterious departure of his former co-captain Daniel (Matthew Morrison); the replacement, a woman named Jessica (Liv Tyler), arrives on the ship just as the opening credits come to a close. There is other life on this ship, too. Ted and Misty (Matt Bomer and Marisa Coughlan) are married and unstable, though precocious daughter Sunshine (Kylie Rogers) is adorable. Misty is predictably engaged in an addiction to Valium and an affair with Steve (Jerry O'Connell), whose wife Donna (Kali Rocha) is uptight and constantly frayed at the nerves.

The people all have their general issues, which come to a head in a cruel climactic confrontation at a Christmas party that the five screenwriters (including Rocha, Michael Stoyanov, Sam Pancake, Jennifer Elise Cox, and director Jack Plotnick) don't seem to realize is so irresponsibly manipulative the mind boggles. The serious stuff is at direct odds with the humor--most of it inexplicably drug-related--though a joke involving a robotic doctor voiced by Stoyanov is the film's best (and the punchline slays in its own right). Keeping in mind that this is supposed to be a parody (Its connection to the aforementioned Stanley Kubrick opus is furthered by an awful cameo appearance by Keir Dullea), it's mostly incoherent, so the result is a comedy without personality.

Film Information

Patrick Wilson (Captain Glenn), Liv Tyler (Jessica), Marisa Coughlan (Misty), Matt Bomer (Ted), Jerry O'Connell (Steve), Kylie Rogers (Sunshine), Kali Rocha (Donna), Ryan Gaul (Chuck), Matthew Morrison (Daniel), Keir Dullea (Mr. Marlowe).

Featuring the voice of Michael Stoyanov (Dr. Bot).

Rated R (sexuality including graphic nudity, language, drug use).

93 minutes.

Released in select cities on September 19, 2014.