The film “Spaceman” is being reviewed, and it features Adam Sandler being comforted by a non-threatening, oversized spider while in outer space.

Estimated read time 2 min read


This is a sci-fi movie that heavily relies on its influences and attempts at humor, almost as if it’s being pulled into a strong gravitational force. It was written by Colby Day, based on the absurdist novel Spaceman of Bohemia, and directed by Johan Renck, who has mainly worked on television, including the popular Chernobyl drama series. The end product, available on Netflix, is a dull story about a Czech space mission funded by corporations, where the astronaut must constantly repeat advertising slogans in his radio communication with Earth, making for a forced type of satire.

A Czech astronaut is unexpectedly sent on a mission to explore clusters of luminous particles leftover from the beginning of the universe. However, the long period of isolation in space causes him to lose his grip on reality and he starts to imagine a giant spider aboard the spaceship, offering him therapy for his troubled marriage. It’s unclear if the spider is just a figment of his imagination or if it’s actually there.

However, the film does not feature any Czech actors, resulting in the loss of the intended comedic contrast between American and Czech cultures in this space mission. Even the subtle nod to Tarkovsky’s “Solaris” does not quite achieve its desired effect. Adam Sandler portrays Jakub, a weary and bearded astronaut, while Carey Mulligan plays his pregnant wife Lenka back on Earth, brooding in their gloomy home. Lenka’s video message announcing her departure is intercepted by the mission commander, played by Isabella Rossellini. The spider character, voiced by Paul Dano, repeatedly refers to Jakub as “skinny human” despite being much skinnier itself. One wonders how many humans the spider has encountered.

The supposed humor is attributed to the chatty spider, similar to a less scary version of Alien. Unfortunately, Sanders and Mulligan do not have any funny lines, despite their abilities in comedic acting. (Rossellini was also a part of 30 Rock.) As Jakub’s spacecraft drifts into the sunset-colored clouds of stars, memories of his relationship with Lenka resurface and he enters a trance-like state reminiscent of Malick’s style. Lenka’s character is poorly written and lacks depth; it is unclear how she fell in love with Jakub and why she has fallen out of love with him. However, as part of a cosmic revelation, she appears to be falling back in love with him. Overall, their journey seems aimless.


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