The Space Between Us is a hot mess of a sci-fi drama about a boy who was born on Mars after his astronaut mother, Sarah, apparently failed to take an Early Pregnancy Test before setting off on a super-long shuttle mission to colonize the Red Planet. In a sad twist of events, Sarah discovers shortly after take-off that she’s pregnant, and then dies from complications during childbirth. That’s not a spoiler. It’s in the trailer, and sets up the rest of the story about the life and times of Gardner Elliott, an extremely bright but socially-awkward kid who grows weary of life in a Martian bubble. As puberty hits, Gardner gets rebellious and decides to visit his home planet Earth – to meet a cool girl he’s met online, and maybe even find his mysterious, unidentified father. (Sadly, it’s not Matt “The Martian” Damon.)
As Gardner (Asa Butterfield, Hugo) sets off to explore the wonders of Earth with his skeptical and street-smart gal-pal Tulsa (Britt Robertson, Tomorrowland), a team of scientists are in hot pursuit. They know something that Gardner does not: his organs will not be able to withstand Earth’s atmosphere for very long. They must find him fast– for his own good– but first, we all must endure two hours of cheesy dialogue, stereotypical fish-out-of-water scenarios, and unresolved daddy issues.
I’m generally an easy sell when it comes to space movies promising a mix of drama, adventure, and romance. But The Space Between Us misses the mark on all three. The drama and adventure are predictable and uninspired. And there’s about as much chemistry between Gardner and Tulsa as there is gravity in space (metaphorically speaking).
“What’s your favorite thing about Earth?” Gardner asks of Tulsa, and the movie poster asks of us.
My list is long. But The Space Between Us does not make the cut.