Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 81: Space Buddies

"I've never been so ready in all my life. Come and get it, rhinestone cowboy!"

Motherfucking Space Buddies, all up in this piece! Those of you who have been following my reviews for a while will remember the praise I heaped upon the most recent Buddies movie Treasure Buddies, and tonight we'll be looking at one of the earlier films in the series, 2009's Space Buddies. When this movie starts, the all the buddies are living with different owners, all of whom live in the same town, go to the same school, and take the same field trip to watch a space shuttle launch. The buddies are rounded up by Buddha to tag along and watch the festivities. I can't even begin to tell you what kind of trouble Budderball gets into when he gets around the kids' lunches, oh my!

Bill Fagerbakke, Dauber from Coach and the voice of Patrick on Spongebob, plays Pi, the designer of the Vision One, the ship that's heading to the Moon because, well, you know, the Moon. Vision Enterprises has a "vision" to make space travel accessible to everyone, even the family pet! The tour group arrives, the buddies get suited up in a machine that will design a space suit to fit your exact body type, and then they stow away on the Vision One for some high flying fun.

The evil Dr. Finkel (Kevin Weisman) has other plans however. His nefarious scheme to take over the company sees him sabotaging the mission in an attempt to discredit Pi. What a cocksucker! The mission control team realizes that the ship doesn't have enough fuel to get to the moon because of Dr. Dickwad's actions, so they're forced to stop at a Russian Space Station to refuel. When the buddies get to the space station, they meet Spudnik, one of those Spuds McKenzie dogs, and the cosmonaut running the station Yuri (Deidrich Bader). Bader is one of those great character actors who fully commits himself and this role is no exception. I found myself genuinely laughing at his hijinks. I would equate him to Hank Azaria in The Smurfs, I wish everyone else were as committed as he is.

Yuri wants to live in space forever, but Spudnick wants to go back to his owner Sasha. Spudnick manages to make a deal with the Buddies to come back to earth with them before Yuri can find out and sabotage their escape. Will the Buddies get back to Earth with their new friend? Will they be the first dogs to walk on the moon? Will Dr. Asshat get his comeuppance? All these questions and more wait for you when you pop in Space Buddies this weekend as I know you're going to.

I have no qualms whatsoever with saying that this is by far the best Buddies movie, and 95% of that has to do with Deidrich Bader. His dancing and lines about American Discotechques had me laughing, and sadly he;s only in the film for about ten minutes. But he makes the most of it. Amy Sedaris also voices Pi's ferret Gravity, and I genuinely love her, so I'm always happy to hear her voice.

So what doesn't work in Space Buddies? Virtually everything else. It's not downright awful like Treasure Buddies was, but it should have been so much better than it actually is. I feel like these films start with a title and then a script comes into being, so they kind of half-ass reasons for the buddies to go into space or go to Egypt. Start with a solid script, I know literally hundreds of writers who would be happy to work for scale and could write a damn good script that kids and parents would enjoy.

The scenes, especially the ones with the kids, are so piss-poorly staged, they're painful to watch. They shoot each kid individually, and I kind of refuse to believe that the takes they use are the best possible ones. The budget on this movie was $9 million dollars. That money could have been better spent on a good script and good child actors. I don't want to be mean, especially to kids, but the child actors are awful. I guess, at the end of the day, I'm not the target audience for films like this, but as much as my kids love them, they won't want to watch them in a few years when they're still wanting to watch some of the much better movies they love now.

I know these are cash grabs more than anything else, but an ounce or two more of quality would make them so much better. Oh well, who am I to complain, I'm the one who shelled out the money for this thing, so who's the real sap?

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