An utterly predictable romantic comedy dressed up in science fiction trappings.
This review of the HBO Max film Moonshot does not contain spoilers.
A romantic comedy is a rom-com, no matter how you dress it up. Moonshot is typical in almost every way, outside its science-fiction trappings. You have two leads who bring a built-in young adult audience. Both have had briefly and currently successful careers within the genre. But again, a rom-com is a romantic comedy. Even if they travel by spaceships, you still have the guy chasing the girl before it takes off.
In Moonshot, it is 2049, and a young man named Walt (Five Feet Apart’s Cole Sprouse) falls for a beautiful college student with a pair of big, beautiful eyes named Ginny (Fear Street’s Emily Rudd). A day before, mind you. So, the idealistic Walt is told she leaves for Mars the next day. He wants to chase her, and his dreams, to the giant red planet. He has applied to the Kovi Industries Student Mars Program at least a dozen times. Walt has been denied with every single one.
Walt is a dreamer and has his head in the clouds. But he meets another girl with her head in the books, Sophie (All the Boys series’ Lana Condor). They are different because she comes from a wealthy family, and he does not. She has a boyfriend on Mars, and Walt manipulates her to buy a ticket to see her boyfriend Calvin (Mason Gooding) despite her fear of flying. He somehow sneaks on board after seeing her off past security. When she finds the stowaway, she feels obligated to tell everyone he’s her boyfriend, or she could be kicked off the ship with him.
And with that, just as before they take off for Mars and during their journey, director by Chris Winterbauerand and writer Max Tax recycle every romantic comedy trope they can think of to land a ship. Going through the genre playbook is an exceedingly dull and monotonous process that you have seen thousands of times over. Except here, it feels forced. Sprouse and Condor have no natural chemistry here and seem better off with their intended targets. (Well, not Sprouse because his character is in the first stages of stalking at this point).
Even the subplot involving an Elon Musk character type (played by Zach Braff) serves two purposes: One is to cover up a humungous, gaping plot hole the size of a black hole. The other is to give the film some depth. He and his company represent greed instead of putting their minds to saving the current planet they left. This is nothing more than faux filler.
Moonshot fails because the filmmaking team makes no use of its science-fiction trappings to at least make the film seem fresh. It’s the equivalent of shining up a ripe banana.
What did you think of the HBO Max film Moonshot (2022)? Comment below!