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Review: ‘Space Station 76' roams pointlessly

Patrick Wilson in "Space Station 76."
(Vertical Entertainment)

It’s hard to say what the creators of “Space Station 76" were aiming for. But whatever it was, they didn’t achieve it.

A good cast and much proven comic talent — on both sides of the camera — are lost in space as director Jack Plotnick and his co-screenwriters Sam Pancake, Jennifer Elise Cox, Kali Rocha and Michael Stoyanov fail to nail a satisfying theme, narrative or purpose.

“Space Station 76" is set on a spaceship in, as the press notes clarify, “the future as it was imagined in the 1970s.” But this is no “Star Trek"-type enterprise. Instead, we’re on a kind of flying condo complex with several unhappy, dysfunctional married couples (Matt Bomer and Marisa Coughlan; Jerry O’Connell and Rocha) and several unhappy, dysfunctional singles (Patrick Wilson as the ship’s surly, closeted gay captain and Liv Tyler as his kindly but lonely co-captain). There’s also an equitable child, Sunshine (Kylie Rogers).

Why these folks are there is blurry: The story, such as it is, lacks context. It’s also without much of a structure. The film is essentially just a string of scenes, snapshots in the lives of its main characters.

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Oh, and an asteroid is hurtling toward the spaceship. Big whoop.

But, really, what are we watching? If the film is a spoof, what exactly is it spoofing? If it’s the 1970s, the period tunes and trappings seem random. If it’s a comedy, it’s rarely funny except for the robot shrink, which is inspired. And if it’s a drama — which much of the movie plays like — it doesn’t feel as if it should be taken seriously.

There’s a perhaps purposeful flatness to the overall tone; it’s like cinematic Musak. To that end, the actors largely play things straight. But that only adds to the confusion.

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‘Space Station 76'

MPAA rating: R for sexuality, graphic nudity, language, drug use.

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes.

Playing: At the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, Los Angeles.

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