Don't Look Up

[3 stars] [IMDB Link] [Don't Look Up]

The first movie of 2022, a free-to-me Netflix streamer. I decided to watch after reading Kevin D. Williamson's (positive) take at the NR blog, which was a response to Kyle Smith's NRPlus (very negative) review. Hey, I'll split the difference; they both make good points.

Michigan State astronomy grad student Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) discovers an incoming comet on her photos of distant stars. She dutifully reports her discovery to her advisor Randall (Leonardo DiCaprio), who does some orbital calculations, and… oh, oh, it's on a direct collision course with our lovely planet in a few months.

So they report this to NASA, which cobbles up a heroic mission to divert the comet at the last minute, and…

Nah. What actually happens is that they get plunked into the dysfunctional (that's gonna be my go-to word for 2022, and perhaps beyond) operations of the US government (personified by President Meryl Streep), hubristic Big Tech (personified by creepy Mark Rylance), air-headed/amoral newscasters (Tyler Perry and Cate Blanchett), and American society (portrayed by nearly everyone else). Honest, earnest Kate is quickly chewed up and spit out by this powerful coalition of corruption, stupidity, and greed. Randall goes along to "work within the system" and is soon seduced (figuratively and literally) by it all.

Will humanity triumph and save our planet? Well…

It's way too long, and (as Kyle Smith points out) the writer/director Adam McKay "could not be more ham-fisted if he got 'Hormel' tattooed across his knuckles." But the acting is decent (look at all those Oscar winners and nominees), the special effects are impressive, and the occasional dumb joke got me to laugh.