SYNOPSIS: Tiffany “Rex” Simpson (Emma Roberts) has always dreamed of going to space, and with a “doctored” application she gets into NASA’s ultra-competitive astronaut training program. In over her head, can this Florida girl get through training and into the cosmos before she blows her cover?


Even though it might be a tad hard to pinpoint Emma Roberts’ most memorable onscreen effort, the former child star doesn’t seems to age over the years since we first noticed her in Aquamarine and Nancy Drew. In Space Cadet, besides starring in the lead role, she has taken on a role of a producer as well.

Roberts plays Tiffany “Rex” Simpson, a gung-ho Floridian girl who works as a bartender, occasionally wrestles gator, helps at her father’s ghost tour business, save manatees among many other ventures. But her biggest wish has always wanting to be an astronaut if not for the unfortunate passing of her mother. Family comes first for her and college somehow never happened.

One day after meeting her ultra-successful former classmate, Rex decides to apply to NASA. However, her best friend, Nadine (Poppy Liu) submitted a phony resume on her behalf and Rex somehow gets into NASA training program and the rest they say is history. No, of course not.

Space Cadet wants to be Legally Blonde in Space but lacks the charm, jokes and story to make things work. Although there are some positive messages about pursuing your dreams etc, it turns out to be an insult to those women who have worked so hard to get into NASA. You know you need a long list of qualifications and not just a gutsy, street smart attitude to be an astronaut, right? It’s one thing to celebrate the accomplishments of women but to fully demonstrate the true meaning of it is another.

Director and writer Liz W. Garcia fills her movie with an ensemble of characters that you probably have seen in other movies. The stuck up doctor, the self-doubting geek, the all too cool military woman and man, characters that don’t contribute much to the entire story or gags unlike the now cancelled Netflix series, Space Force who consists of a wide variety of entertaining characters.

That leaves Emma Roberts. Honestly, Roberts delivers the goods as the plucky Rex. You can tell that her character is a genuinely wonderful human being who will let no one or herself down. The romance angle with one of NASA directors, Logan O’Leary (Tom Hopper) is cute rather than awkward. Liu gets to ham it up as Rex’s moronic buddy and contributes a few laughs here and there. And who can forget about Gabrielle Union who is totally wasted in the whole affair.

Space Cadet is a feel-good comedy for the entire family but we can’t recommend it for its silly treatment of the subject matter.


Review by Linus Tee