by Lisa Nystrom

Year:  2024

Director:  Liz W. Garcia

Release:  4 July 2024

Distributor: Prime Video

Running time: 110 minutes

Worth: $8.00
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Emma Roberts, Tom Hopper, Poppy Liu, Gabrielle Union

… inoffensive but unmemorable …

Sometimes you find yourself craving a lightweight comedy with just the right balance of predictability and inspired silliness, and yet studios seem to be moving away from backing the kind of reliable fare that saturated the market during the Frat Pack heyday. Unfortunately, while Prime Video’s latest release about a party girl who finds her way into the NASA space program does tick many of those familiar boxes — quirky but loveable misfit, zany hijinks, lessons learned along the way — it doesn’t possess that same level of charm that the most memorable films working with the same blueprint (see Legally Blonde, Stripes, Private Benjamin) managed to master.

A story can only rely so much on the likeability of its actors in wooing the audience, and a certain amount of predictability is only forgivable when the story feels alive and endearing. Writer/director Liz W. Garcia has laid a solid foundation with the premise of a young overachiever (Emma Roberts as Rex) on the road to a scholarship and a future as bright as the stars she adores, until her mother falls ill, and her life is derailed. Fast forward to her 10 year reunion and her plan to get life on track goes askew when some unsolicited and highly imaginative editing of her resume by best friend Nadine lands her at the top of NASA’s astronaut candidate program. It’s here that Garcia’s solid foundation starts to crack. The dialogue feels stilted and outdated, which could almost be an endearing quirk if lines like “biznatch”, “whack”, and “oh my nerd” were kept to one character with a healthy sense of irony, but unfortunately the script really does want us to believe this is how humans in 2024 talk.

There are shades of iconic team bonding scenes — we’ve got the Do Wah Diddy Diddy march from Stripes echoed in a training sequence featuring an a capella rendition of ‘Call Me Maybe’ — but that all important feeling of found family amongst the recruits never quite hits the mark. Ultimately inoffensive but unmemorable, it’s the promise of what could have been that will have you longing for the glory days of National Lampoon’s comedies, or even a simple memorable one liner.


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