Space Station 76 (2014)

(On Cable TV, May 2015)  I seldom want to throw things at my TV during closing credits, but then again most movies aren’t as frustrating as Space Station 76.  I’ll admit that part of my frustration has to do with expectations: Nearly everything about the film’s marketing, from the title to the trailer to the poster to the premise, suggests a light-hearted ironic spoof far lighter than what we get here… because after only a few minutes, it becomes glaringly obvious that we are stuck in the saddest indie-drama imaginable.  As Space Spation 76 goes forward, the laughs never come: instead, we are prisoners of a bleak drama about crushing isolation, unhappiness and narcissistic characters.  The Science Fiction elements are not used with any rigor or invention, and the comedy goes way past humiliation into depression.  Fair enough; I wouldn’t be the first time marketing would sell an entirely different movie than what it is.  But what kills Space Station 76 isn’t mismatched expectations, but unfulfilled potential.  The film is bleak from beginning to end, and some sequences would be hard to stomach under any circumstances.  But the ending doesn’t actually resolve anything: it basically fades to black without much hope for the relatively small number of sympathetic characters imprisoned with the crazy ones.  People with sensitivities toward kids stuck in bad situation will be particularly infuriated by the Space Station 76’s refusal to provide closure.  But then again, most people will be frustrated by the film, no qualifiers needed.  As much as I usually like Liv Tyler and Patrick Wilson… I don’t usually go out of my way to suggest people should avoid a movie, but –again- I’ll make an exception for this one.  

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