HomeReviews‘Fly Me To The Moon’ Assessment: Scarlett Johansson And Channing Tatum Hearth...

‘Fly Me To The Moon’ Assessment: Scarlett Johansson And Channing Tatum Hearth On All Cylinders In A Screwy House-Race Rom-Com


Chemistry has at all times been Hollywood’s secret sauce, and, for rom-coms a minimum of, the high-water mark stays the pairing of Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Most cineastes can identify their first collaboration (Pillow Talk in 1959), however the others — Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964) — don’t come to thoughts so rapidly. As a model, although, these two have greater than endured in popular culture, and writers and administrators have needed to work more durable and more durable to discover a strategy to recapture that magic, since we now know very effectively that it requires an important deal extra than simply placing a few handsome well-known individuals collectively.

Peyton Reed got here shut in 2003’s together with his trendy, early-’60s interval pastiche Down with Love, casting Renee Zellweger alongside Ewan McGregor, and Olivia Wilde actually did not with 2022’s Don’t Worry Darling, lumbering Florence Pugh with Harry Styles in a risible ’50s-themed sci-fi. Fly Me to the Moon, nevertheless, could be the most effective problem lately mounted, even when a lot religion is positioned within the central casting of Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum that, except for an enjoyably offbeat cameo by Woody Harrelson, there are just about no substantial supporting roles. Like, any. At all.

From the outset, Greg Berlanti’s movie roots itself in the true world of the ’60s house race, utilizing archive footage to position the place the USA was on the finish of the last decade. In 1961, the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin grew to become the primary man up there, sparking an instantaneous bidding battle with the U.S. for proprietorship of the moon. As the years wore on, nevertheless, this once-exciting however vastly costly competitors misplaced its sheen with the general public, initially after the surprising assassination of JFK in 1963 however particularly as soon as the Vietnam War took maintain quickly after — PR points that had been skirted by Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 however not Damien Chazelle’s First Man.

Public burnout with NASA is on the coronary heart of Fly Me to the Moon, which begins, unexpectedly, with a Mad Men-style intro that finds our heroine, Kelly Jones (Johansson), arriving to pitch to an promoting firm on Madison Avenue. “Wrong room, we don’t want dictation,” they inform her, saying the quiet half out loud within the sexist spirit of the time. Kelly, nevertheless, carries on, together with her presentation — promoting sports activities automobiles to males, in a roomful of males — that’s so profitable, plainly she needn’t have bothered with the pretend being pregnant bump that she is carrying as a type of backup plan to elicit sympathy.

Kelly is fairly good at this type of factor, which is why, that evening in a bar, she meets a spook (Harrelson) who introduces himself as Moe Berkus. Berkus appears to know all about Kelly and brings up the provide of a high-powered job, which she balks at, claiming to not have the expertise. “Face like that,” says Berkus, “who’s gonna examine references? You have a singular expertise — why waste it promoting automobiles?”

The product, he says, is the moon, because the authorities is determined to re-energize the house program and never solely win the propaganda battle with the united states however give the depressed American individuals one thing to root for. Kelly is in virtually instantly, flying to Cocoa Beach in Florida together with her not-so-enthusiastic assistant, an anti-Nixon peacenik. On her first evening, consuming solo at a close-by diner, Kelly meets Cole Davis (Tatum), a seasoned pilot who — very like one of many real-life characters from Tom Wolfe’s 1979 e-book The Right Stuff — has seen his personal ambitions to develop into an astronaut thwarted and now operates behind the scenes.

They flirt, fairly innocently, and Cole, after naively oversharing his attraction to her, is shocked when she turns up at his office the following day. Kelly is unfazed and units about her work like a lady possessed. Flipping the Hudson-Day playbook, Cole is the hustled and Kelly the hustler, which is the place the movie is at its strongest: Kelly needs to promote the hell out of the upcoming Apollo 11 launch — from wristwatches to underwear and breakfast cereal — however the uptight, nerdy Cole, who clearly wears a vest beneath his trendy, pastel-colored turtlenecks, needs to protect its integrity. Billy Wilder would have had numerous enjoyable with this set-up, and there’s somewhat little bit of his 1961 comedy One Two Three right here as Cole struggles with this whirlwind that’s now disrupting his ordered life.

Up so far, there’s a geniality that drives the whole lot ahead, an acknowledgment that it did take quite a bit to win again the favor of American politicians, within the excessive warmth of 1969 particularly. But the blurring of reality and fiction quickly turns into a bit uncomfortable; the catastrophic destiny of Apollo 1 just isn’t terribly tactfully dealt with, and the movie performs into conspiracy idea territory when Berkus forces Kelly to make contingency plans if Apollo 11 fails (which entails filming a pretend moon touchdown with out Cole understanding and plenty of jokes about Stanley Kubrick being unavailable). This manner, explains Berkus, “Everybody will get what they need, and the world doesn’t should sleep beneath a Communist moon.”

But will everybody else get what they need? In its favor, Johansson and Tatum — in maybe their most weaponized comedic roles since Hail, Caesar! — actually do make an important workforce, which is the primary field ticked and can probably be the largest draw for audiences, particularly when it strikes from theaters onto Apple TV+. This dazzling partnership doesn’t depart a long-lasting impression, nevertheless. Thanks to its more and more wayward plotting and completely distracting manipulation of identified historical past within the pursuit of ever extra ridiculous laughs, Fly Me to the Moon winds up extra screwy than screwball, leaving the door vast open, but once more, for the following crack at that old-school Hollywood chemistry factor.

Title: Fly Me to the Moon
Studio: Apple Original Films
Release date: July 12, 2024 (Columbia Pictures)
Director: Greg Berlanti
Screenwriter: Rose Gilroy
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Jim Rash, Anna Garcia, Donald Elise Watkins, Noah Robbins, Colin Woodell, Christian Zuber, Nick Dillenburg, Ray Romano, Woody Harrelson
Rating: PG-13
Running time: 2 hr 12 min

Content Source: deadline.com


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