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Review: Fly Me to the Moon. A very light comedy

  • Release year: 2024
  • Director: Greg Berlanti.
  • Producers: Keenan Flynn, Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Lia and Sarah Schechter.
  • Screenplay by: Rose Gilroy.
  • Cinematography by: Dariusz Wolski.
  • Music by: Daniel Pemberton.

Synopsis: a woman with a delinquent past is hired to advertise NASA in order to get enough funding to put a man on the moon before the Russians.

Shotgun Commentary: fun summer flick. Don’t expect originality. Do expect a few healthy laughs.

Kelly (Scarlett Johansson) and Cole (Channing Tatum). Source: Fly Me to the Moon (Greg Berlanti, 2024).

Review

Fly Me to the Moon is 2024’s summer blockbuster romcom. The film has cleverly followed the epic American narrative and explosion hype created by Oppenheimer (2023) last summer, to sell a way lighter comedy romcom. Was this story necessary? Absolutely not. Is it a lot of fun? Hell yeah!!

The core of the story plays with the decades-old debate of whether the man got to the moon or not. Regardless of the final product’s lack of depth, one has to respect the decision to turn one of the biggest conspiracy theories for mankind right now into a romcom. Hopefully, this will become a trend. Can’t wait for a flat-Earth horror movie, or a Reptilian love story!

60s: the bad and the worse

The fact that it’s set in the sixties, unfortunately also comes with the sexism inherent to the times, an issue from which the film doesn’t shy away, regardless of its genre. Small situations and gestures like the automobile businessman justifying his hatred for women at the slightest chance, or Moe Berkus (Woody Harrelson) kissing his secretary’s hand out of nowhere like it’s not cringy, disgusting and way out of line, are subtle but pungent reminders of the horrible conditions that women had to tolerate in order to have a job.

Loving nonsense

The story itself is very engaging and fun. Was the romance necessary? Not really, no. It’s not an issue per se, but it does bring down a bit the quality of the film, and here’s why. The most popular of romcom narratives is: two people hate each other, then discover they like each other, drama ensues, they make up and kiss.

Fake Cole (Bill Barrett), Kelly (Scarlett Johansson) and Cole (Channing Tatum).
Source: Fly Me to the Moon (Greg Berlanti, 2024).

In this film, the first part of that storyline makes absolutely no sense. Cole Davis (Channing Tatum) is in charge of the Apollo 11 mission, he’s understaffed and under equipped, so he is miserable because his work is doomed. Here is where Kelly Jones (Scarlett Johansson), the love interest, comes in. She is going to market NASA so that Cole gets all the money he needs to complete his work on time. And he is angry about it? A guy who is seeing his life crumble before his eyes find out that a gorgeous woman that he likes is going to fix everything, and he is ANGRY? Yes, he might feel a bit embarrassed or uncomfortable, but his anger is straight up inexplicable.

Another very cliché moment on every romcom is the “let me show you this quaint place that makes the most incredible whatever you’ll ever taste”. This is all well and fine, but let’s make one thing VERY clear: a slim crab sandwich of approximately 10 centimetres SHARED between two people IS. NOT. A. MEAL. Please, let’s not normalise coin size portions as meals. Thank you.

Last but not least, two little details. Firstly, people don’t just tell you about your love interest’s background and horrible traumas, especially without even asking. Kelly is just chilling and gets a whole briefing out of nowhere, which is funny in its absurdity, but speaks volumes as to the amount of work and care put into the script. Secondly, can you imagine that, just once, there is a pilot character who doesn’t force their love interest to fly? Wouldn’t that be great? Spare your audience of the severely overused cliché flying sequence, please. Just once.

The beauty and the stage

Scarlett Johansson plays one of the main characters in the feature, Kelly. Johansson proves once again that she nails her anti-hero roles. Kelly lies, fakes accents and flirts to get what she wants, and she’s great at it. Think Black Widow, but without all the cool fighting skills… that we know of.

Kelly (Scarlett Johansson). Source: Fly Me to the Moon (Greg Berlanti, 2024).

Johansson makes Kelly incredibly charming, maybe a little bit too bobble head-ish during the most dramatic scenes, but delightful to watch regardless. Additionally, her husband’s cameo is pretty funny and reinforces the comedy aspect of the film. As for Channing Tatum…he is pretty much what you expect, no surprise there.

The staging is fantastic. The saturated colours emit strong feel-good vibes, as well as reminding the audience of the time and space in which the action is happening. Every colour palette says 60s Florida, especially when one takes into consideration the hairstyles and outfits of the characters, especially Kelly’s, which range from gorgeous to dreadful without touching any intermediary level of beauty in between.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • It’s OK if the trailer says nothing. It is better than revealing what happens after one of the most tense moments of a film.
  • Sometimes the best storyline is the one that is barely there, take the black cat as an example.
  • A good soundtrack makes everything better.
Kelly’s assistant (Ana Garcia) and Kelly (Scarlett Johansson).
Source: Fly Me to the Moon (Greg Berlanti, 2024).

What’s your take? Have you watched Fly Me to the Moon? What do you think of the presence of romance in this comedy? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles, check out the rest of my blog! 😀

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