Liz W. Garcia’s “Space Cadet” is slim, flimsy, and strictly low-expectation material. It demands a high degree of frothy fantasy, an absolute suspension of disbelief. This may seem standard practice considering the nature of the terrain it treads. But it gradually seems to ascend to a place where it becomes so ludicrously unbelievable it threatens to upend a fun, light-hearted experience. Right off the boat, circumstances are written that are so patently unfathomable in their excesses one struggles to buy into any of them. The bizarreness and outlandishness of the situations strain too heavily on the film, impeding it from gaining any actual endearing value.

While watching the film, I was constantly beset by the amusingly heightened degree of implausibility until it quickly began to grate on the narrative motion. Characters appear like a bunch of scrambling fools. When one starts taking into consideration all the stuff that is happening at a NASA training station, it’s especially impossible to take any of it seriously, even with a pinch of salt that the story calls for. The extent to which the protagonist is able to cover up her tracks and get by with a dubious record is troublingly foolish.

Emma Roberts essays Rex Simpson. The projected avatar is that of an airheaded bartender. But her dreams and ambition far exceed her circumstances. She prides herself on being a Florida girl, but there are twinges of desire and regret surrounding where she is now in life. She had to drop out of an education, moving back home to look after her mother once she got diagnosed with cancer. After she passed away, Rex’s career options shut down on account of an unfinished education, following which she took up bartending. Nevertheless, she still has a bunch of dreams, which get significantly re-ignited at a school reunion after running into her ex-schoolmate, Toddrick Spencer (Sebastian Yatra). Toddrick has invested exponentially in space tourism.

Space Cadet (2024) Movie Review
A still from “Space Cadet” (2024)

It gets Rex thinking as she sets herself on applying to the NASA astronaut training program. Now, of course, she doesn’t have the credentials to burnish her wish. But propelled equally by her friend, Nadine (Poppy Liu), Rex applies anyway. Her resume is full of fabrications and inflated work experience. However, she gets selected. It seems cross-checking is barely attended to with any seriousness. Nadine doubles as all of the prospective past employer references that Rex enlisted in her resume, none of which hold any credence. Despite the unscrupulous behavior, Rex sails by pretty smoothly for most of the film.

Rex is full of confidence and self-possession. She is also a quick learner and demonstrates easy intelligence, capable of getting a grip on almost any other new situation, challenge, or crisis. While she has her doubters, Rex is entirely oblivious to them, refusing to stunt her belief in herself and trying to win them over into trusting her. But the screenplay spirals into impracticality so frequently it is tough to stay invested in the proceedings. The NASA program manager, Logan (Tom Hopper), is terrifically poor at the most basic background checks. It is not just him but the whole galley of characters that are written and played sketchily.

None of them stick out memorably. Rex is so secure in her abilities that it is a bit alarming. But she proves herself equal to any task even as it intensifies through the various rounds till the final few are selected, who will set out on the space expedition. If it is hard to believe it, it is particularly because Rex’s growth is only thinly etched. Roberts is saddled with a permanently cheery character who has tremendous intelligence, as it turns out. “Space Cadet” is replete with a final voiceover that insists on taking a bold, big leap. The messaging is as generic, flat, and forgettable as most of the film.

Read More: Space Cadet (2024) Movie Ending Explained: Does Rex Fulfill her Dream of Becoming an Astronaut?

Space Cadet (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Cast of Space Cadet (2024) Movie: Emma Roberts, Poppy Liu, Gabrielle Union, Kuhoo Verma, Desi Lydic, Tom Hopper, Sebastian Yatra, Sam Robards, Yasha Jackson
Space Cadet (2024) Movie Release Date: 4th July 2024 | Genre: Comedy | Runtime: 1h 50m
Where to watch Space Cadet

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