The Astronaut's Wife

Director: Rand Ravich (1999)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US

A sexy Charlize Theron plays the eponymous Wife of Astronaut, with an even sexier Johnny Depp on Creep duties as the aeronautically inclined husband in this, a fluffy and slightly erotic update of Rosemary's Baby.

It's a minor and somewhat inconsequential piece, but The Astronaut's Wife makes for passable viewing. Whilst playing at Star Trekkin', Spencer (Depp) drops out of contact with his spaceship for two minutes. In that time, he and pal Alex Streck are attacked by something. When they're brought back down to Earth, neither man is quite what they were before. Me I thought they'd just gone all Brokeback Mountain up there, but it turns out something more sinister is at play. Streck dies during a massive stroke and all is temporarily forgotten. And then Jill (Theron) falls pregnant with twins. Chestburster twins? Perhaps. And apparently Johnny Depp is evil now, although he's still damn hot, so we can forgive him that. And he owns a pair of hella awesome aviator glasses. Thanks to the combined lovely forces of Depp, Theron and those aviators, one can easily forgive the fact that not much actually happens in this movie.

What does happen is occasionally titillating. Theron and Depp quickly transcend their silly haircuts to make a believable, lovely little couple. Neither bares enough flesh, but there's at least a half-mast boner or two to be found dotted over the two hours' runtime. There are shades of Lovecraftian extraterrestrial horror, but it's not really touched on by the screenplay or Rand Ravich's direction. This is primarily a movie about the lead couple's relationship and the psychological horror of what might be. Perhaps it'd feel worth an extra Scream Queen or two if everyone involved had just moved out of that Rosemary's Baby shaped shadow a bit. Even Charlize Theron's haircut is on loan from Mia Farrow. As it stands, this is a mildy diverting if derivative little sci-fi thriller that gets by on a bit of steamy eroticism and the star power of its leading couple.

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