"The Space Between Us" is basically "The Martian" told somewhat in reverse, and featuring forgettable characters and a romance that is faintly ridiculous.
The only upside is that even though this isn’t based on another YA novel, it certainly has the film making footprints of some of the more mediocre efforts.
It stars Asa Butterfield from "Hugo" and "Ender’s Game" as Gardner Elliot, a boy literally born on Mars. At the beginning, his mother dies in childbirth and he’s left under the guardianship of a surrogate mother (Carla Gugino). Gardner is able to contact Earth using a Skype-like device and he befriends a high school girl (Britt Robertson) who is curious about him, despite not knowing he’s been on Mars his whole life.
Would you believe it if someone told you they were on Mars? Neither would I.
The crew decides to send Gardner to Earth, despite the risk of our gravity threatening his body. Gary Oldman costars as one of the heads of NASA who is in charge of protecting him and making sure he doesn’t get into trouble.
Once on Earth, Gardner is fascinated with everyone and everything he sees and this makes for an occasionally weirdly amusing performance from Butterfield.
Butterfield performance is OK, but the rest of the movie features him being consistently wide-eyed at everything and the chemistry between him and Robertson is almost nonexistent, and a subplot about finding his father features a twist that virtually undermines the credibility of the story. I don’t even think the women from "Hidden Figures" would want to help this E.T.-esque kid.
"What’s your favorite thing about Earth?" he frequently asks. Well, when it comes to this movie, it’s the fact that I will only have to see it once.
Rated PG-13 for brief sensuality and language.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.