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'Astronaut' review: What happened here?

'Astronaut' review: What happened here?

These things should really be allowed to be funny because they are. Imagine Adam Sandler, with big serious eyes, face drawn and exhausted from nearly 200 days in space, sitting down to talk to a huge spider. This is funny, my friends.

Yet almost the entire film has Jacob keenly reminiscing about his life on Earth—particularly his wife, Lenka (Mulligan), who is back on the planet pregnant and miserable and planning to leave him—in aphoristic realization, aided by his own would-be imagination. friend. Jacob has been a bad husband, and an alien spider, named Hanus, helps him understand why. In short, this is a movie about a man who realizes he's been terrible and vows to change, thanks to a spider wizard.

Furthermore, Jacob is there with the alien spider because a giant purple cloud has been present in the sky above Earth for four years. Jacob is sent on a mission to find out why – on a ship named after Jan Hus, the famous Czech theologian, reformer and martyr – by the European space programme, headed by Commissioner Toma (Isabella Rossellini, who seems to be enjoying a vibrant career in strange film parts as of late. ). Jacob is a Czech, as is Lenka — both Sandler and Mulligan attempt slightly Eastern European accents, with mediocre results — and he has a troubled past thanks to his father's politics. It's not clear what year it is, but for some reason, the only other space program hurtling toward the purple cloud is from South Korea (the movie focuses on the southern part several times, for reasons I think the studio knows better than I do). None of this is explained, and actually seems off topic.

This may seem like a bad thing to you. It's not bad fun. It's bad, very bad, very bad too. If you're looking for fun, nasty musings on troubled lineage and arachnid beings, please go to “Madame Web.” For me, the best part of watching it – other than laughing when Hanus once again said “sssskinny human” in a clearly serious moment – was imagining how many people would click on it when it popped up on their Netflix page and wondering if that was the door they accidentally knocked on Yesterday they had a concussion.

“The Astronaut” isn't particularly astute about human nature and doesn't clearly care about the politics involved, and it's not even all that bad, which is unfortunate. So much wasted potential. With some room to breathe, and an acknowledgment of the foolishness of its premise, it could have dusted off a layer of seriousness without sacrificing heart and contemplation. A film doesn't have to be stiff or serious to delve into the human condition. But Spaceman proves to be as mysterious as a purple cloud in the sky, beyond the reach of even the most thoughtful spider wizards.

Rated R for some creepy alien stuff, language and a slaughtered pig. Show duration: 1 hour and 47 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

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