REVIEW: ‘Space Force’ aims for the stars, but falls short of stellar

Fri, 2020-07-17 13:19

AMMAN: On paper, there’s a lot to love about “Space
Force.” It’s created by Steve Carell and Greg Daniels (of US
“The Office” fame), boasts an incredible ensemble cast
(including Carell, John Malkovich, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy O Yang and
supporting turns from Jane Lynch, Patrick Warburton and Noah
Emmerich), and a premise with enough real-world relevance for
stinging satire.
Carell stars as Mark Naird, a career military man who has recently
been promoted to four-star general. Unfortunately for Naird, rather
than being appointed the head of his beloved Air Force, he is
ordered to set up Space Force — the passion project of the (never
named but oft-lampooned) US president. Naird is teamed with head
scientist Adrian Mallory (Malkovich) and an array of eccentric
experts, and tasked with getting American boots back on the
moon.
Sadly, the show doesn’t make the most of the opportunities
presented by this attractive opening premise. Though there are some
genuine laugh-out-loud moments, and the sending up of the current
US administration is, at times, extremely clever, “Space Force”
veers from slapstick parody to satirical subtlety too wildly and
often to ever get a proper handle on what the series is shooting
for.
Naird is the perfect example. The protagonist wobbles from
bumblingly inept (insisting on using a chimpanzee to conduct
complex repairs in outer space) to craftily capable (pushing for a
scheduled successful launch despite protestations from the
scientists) with no discernible pattern or reasoning. Carell plays
Naird with gruff rigidity (hiding a more sensitive, moralistic side
of course) and is inherently watchable, and Malkovich is brilliant,
stealing every scene he’s in. There are spectacular special
effects — no tightened purse strings for an all-star comedy show
in the Netflix model, it seems — and some extremely funny asides.
But it’s all thrown together with little apparent thought or
structure. Actors such as Kudrow are barely used, while
tried-and-tested repeated gags (many propelled by Naird’s hapless
secretary, played by Don Lake) wear thin pretty quickly.
“Space Force” has all the ingredients for a great comedy show:
a timely setup, a brilliant team, and the backing of a major
network. But there remain some significant kinks that should have
been ironed out.

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Rocket men: Star Steve Carrell and creator Greg Daniels talk
‘Space Force’
Source: FS – All – Interesting – News
REVIEW: ‘Space Force’ aims for the stars, but falls short of
stellar