Shot several years ago but only recently released on home video, Space Truckers is a science-fiction comedy that boasts an interesting cast (Dennis Hopper, Debi Mazar, Stephen Dorff, Charles Dance), a large budget for a direct-to-video film ($27 million), an intriguing comic premise, and a talented, iconoclastic director (Stuart Gordon). So why is it such a misfire? Certainly, much of the film's failure has to do with its inconsistent tone. Frustratingly pitched halfway between an irreverent, adult spoof of science-fiction space epics and a slightly irreverent kiddie adventure film, Space Truckers ends up as little more than a bland Spaceballs-like mediocrity. For the record, its thin plot revolves around a humble, good-natured space trucker (Hopper) who gets sassy space waitress Mazar to agree to marry him if he can get her to Earth safely. Along the way, Hopper picks up fellow space trucker Dorff and ends up doing battle with computer-enhanced space villain Dance. Dance's character is clearly inspired by Peter Sellers' performance in the title role of Dr. Strangelove, but scenes such as the one in which he haplessly tries to sexually menace Mazar with his computer-reconstructed phallus are more creepy than funny. Likewise, the film's take on blue-collar life in outer space is both familiar and tiresome. Hopper, Dorff, and Mazar have all done good work in other films, but all three are hampered by the bland, Mark Hamill-esque non-entities they're asked to play here. There are a few amusing gags, but not nearly nearly enough to salvage this head-scratching waste of an interesting idea.
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