The Astronaut's Wife
A female friend quickly opened my eyes to what's really wrong with this film: Let's say you're married to Johnny Depp, and he goes off on some space mission and his body is totally taken over by some alien hell-bent on the destruction of the human race. He comes back to Earth, and, although you harbor suspicions he's planning to overthrow several world governments and turn your friends into a substance with the consistency of Jell-O, he pretty much bones you just the same as he did before he left. Well, if you're an astronaut's wife in the real world, here's your reaction: "Holy Jesus! I'm married to Johnny fucking Depp!" Then you run around in small circles with your panties down around your ankles. In other words: it's somebody else's problem.
But that's not the reaction of Jillian Armacost (Charlize Theron). For starters, she's a prissy model-type and probably thinks she can do better than a space alien masquerading as Johnny Depp. She also has these weird feelings that lead her to suspect her husband is somehow different, even though Spencer (Depp) does little more than stare straight ahead and look vacant. If that now qualifies one as a space alien, I suppose the U.S. military can safely go ahead and strafe the next Promise Keepers meeting.
Perhaps what happened is that writer and first-time director Rand Ravich, whose major screenwriting credit is "Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh," couldn't figure out why his girlfriends kept freaking out on him every twenty-eight days. You see, Spencer doesn't really do anything to warrant suspicion. He's just a guy. Jillian, meanwhile, flips out. For the uninitiated, this exact problem has also been the subject of several million episodes of "Oprah."
In his little idea notebook, Rand Ravich probably files traffic jams, waiting for the bathroom, and nose-picking under the heading "suspense." The result: "The Astronaut's Wife" is about as suspenseful as wheat toast. My apologies to wheat toast.
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