Review: Space Station 76

Posted: January 31, 2015 in Movie Reviews, Science Fiction
Tags: , ,

 

Space Station 76

(Space Station 76, directed by Jack Plotnick, starring Liv Tyler and Patrick Wilson.  Rival Pictures and Om Films, 2014, 93 minutes)

reviewed by Zeke Teflon

 

Space Station 76 disappeared without a trace shortly after its release last year. But based on glowing recommendations on the sci-fi site io9, I rented it with high hopes. The first few minutes were promising:  gloriously cheesy special effects and spacecraft models, cheesy voiceover narration, a cheesy synthesized soundtrack, and cheesy looking, impossibly closely packed asteroids floating by–all seemingly straight out of low-budget 1970s sci-fi. That sequence culminated with a very funny sight gag.

So, I sat back expecting what the posts on io9 had promised: the best sci-fi comedy since Galaxy Quest, a sight gag-oriented self-parody. And then I waited, and waited for anything even remotely funny or clever. I finally gave up after 35 painful minutes, not having laughed once since the initial sight gag.

On the positive side, the costumers, set designers, et al. really got the ’70s look and feel right: the clothing, hair styles,  music, the gadgets in the crew’s quarters, even the wall background in one scene–waves of medium brown, white, burnt orange, and sickly yellow. This is what hooked the writers on io9. But it’s not enough to carry a movie.

The plot is virtually nonexistent. After more than a third of the movie, the closest thing I could see to a plot was the attempts of the primary character, Jessica (Tyler), to fit in with the oddball crew. The acting doesn’t help, either, though that’s very probably not the fault of the actors themselves: it’s almost certainly the fault of the writers and director. The only thing approaching an acting bright spot is Marisa Coughlan’s spot-on caricature of an obnoxious new age flake, and even it’s not remotely funny. It’s too bad Coughlan, and the other actors, didn’t have better material to work with.

Space Station 76 sets itself up as a comedy. And then it doesn’t deliver.

Very much not recommended.

* * *

Zeke Teflon is the  author of Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia

Free Radicals front cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

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