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SXSW Movie Review: Jack Plotnick's outer space dramedy 'Space Station 76'

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Space Station 76

Rating:
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Sex, drugs and rock n' roll in outer space, 70s style.

Director Jack Plotnick's quirky new space dramedy "Space Station 76" offers up a comical riff on 1970s Sci-Fi television series such as "Space 1999" but ultimately takes viewers nowhere.

At least with series like "Battlestar Galactica" and "Star Trek," audiences knew that a new adventure awaited the crew in each episode as they traveled the galaxies.

Unfortunately, Plotnick's first feature film falls in love with its campy set design, retro equipment and costumes, along with a corny talking robot doc, who serves as the station's psychologist, but gives us bland characters in storylines that come across as nothing more than cheesy soap opera theatrics set in outer space.

The story takes place aboard Omega 76, a refueling space station led by Captain Glenn (Patrick Wilson), who spends most of his time smoking cigarettes, and his new second in command, Jessica (Liv Tyler), a cannabis growing crew mechanic, Ted (Matt Bomer), his lusty wife, Misty (Marisa Coughlan), and their daughter, Sunshine (Kylie Rogers), who has all kinds of bad luck with pets in space, along with a swinging couple played by Jerry O'Connell and Kali Rocha.

Plotnick eschews attempting to parody traditional Sci-Fi plot-driven formulas, instead opting to rely on his dull character-driven dramedy approach that focuses on gossip, jealousy, and affairs among the crew members.

There's also a sad little storyline involving Sunshine and her pet animals (“Danger, Will Robinson!” Spoiler alerts: If baby gerbil deaths and frozen puppies make you cry then stay away! And if being subjected to implied off camera gay male masturbation involving holographic images disturbs you then really stay away!)

And finally, the plot line involving a giant asteroid on a collision course with the space station adds very little tension at all to the proceedings, instead being shoehorned in as a giant unfunny sight gag in the climactic finale.

Now, if "Space Station 76" had some "Spaceballs" and went on a "Galaxy Quest" that would've been something to laugh about for fans of the genre.

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