We all know the famous conspiracy theory suggesting Stanley Kubrick helped the government fake the moon landing. For some reason, this myth lives on in the minds of some people, but no one has really capitalized in the movies with exploring this theory. Moonwalkers looks to play with that even more by saying the request never even got to Kubrick but ended up in the hands of a lousy British band manager (Rupert Grint) and a violent CIA agent (Ron Perlman). What follows hopes to be a raucous comedy but ends up being a miserable, unfunny sit you just want to end.
Everything is in place for some laughs. You have the fish out of water aspect with Perlman playing Kidman, a straight laced, very violent man in among a group of hippies. You have the 1960s drug culture to exploit for jokes. You have the absurdity of these talentless idiots trying to make a convincing moon landing. And none of it works. Over the course of the film’s 107 minutes, I laughed a grand total of one time on account of some over the top violence on the part of Perlman. That is a horrific ratio. The rest of the time they were trying to go for really obvious jokes or just forgetting to include any kind of joke altogether.
I also thought the potential of a buddy movie pairing up Rupert Grint and Ron Perlman — two men who couldn’t be more different in character, look, personality, etc. — could be exciting, but they don’t even take advantage of that. Perlman does wear a flowery shirt at one point, but that’s about as far as they take it.
The movie aesthetically is fine. Its recreation of 1960s London feels more Austin Powers than authentic, but I don’t have a massive problem with that. Although, it would have been more appropriate had they gone more wacky, Austin Powers-esque with the tone and humor, but the movie is somewhat grounded in the real world. That also would have meant too much effort to write jokes and whatnot. Writing is hard, people.
This is a shame, because the screenplay was written by Dean Craig who penned the quite funny Death at a Funeral. I know this guy is capable of writing high quality comedy, and none of that energy is to be found anywhere in Moonwalkers. Perhaps the energy is meant to reflect how out of it these people are on drugs, but the action elements of the movie are in direct opposition to that thinking. So, I don’t know what the intention could have been or was.
I can’t fault the performers here. It’s clear Perlman, Grint, Robert Sheehan, and company are trying to do something interesting and/or funny, and they have shown, prior to this film, evidence they can make charismatic and engaging choices. They are given nothing to play. Sheehan is high the entire time. Perlman gets some semblance of character, dealing with Vietnam flashbacks, but none of that goes anywhere or makes for anything even mildly interesting. We see brief glimpses of charred and injured bodies, and then the scene moves on.
So, when the credits rolled and all of us exited the theater, I was left wondering, “Why did I watch that?” This is never a good thing coming out of a movie. I would have preferred being actively upset about it, but it was more of a complete void of any kind of emotion. I watched a movie, and it ended, almost leaving me completely only minutes after having seen it.
Being forgettable is about the worst thing a movie can be. This film isn’t as bad as say Movie 43 or A Million Ways to Die in the West, but I had such visceral negative reactions to those movies that they stick with me. Moonwalkers is nothing. I can’t believe I even managed to write this many words about it because it basically amounts to being not funny or engaging and just quite boring.