Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Molli and Max in the Future

In the future, you might have your own personal spaceship or a mecha robot suit, but there are still plenty of annoying people around to bother you. At least this irritating duo self-selects their own company, which should make them easier to avoid. They are supposed to be a futuristic “Harry and Sally,” but they should get together to prevent innocent people getting stuck with them. The future sure is verbose in director-screenwriter Michael Lukk Litwak’s Molli and Max in the Future, opening Friday in theaters.

Molli and Max sort of have a meet-cute in an asteroid belt. Technically, he crashed his ship and had no insurance, but they still start hanging out. Right from the start, he maybe sort of feels something for her, but they decide to friend zone each other, before she joins a space cult.

The next time they meet, it is kind of awkward, because she is involved with her creepy space deity and he has become a famous mecha robot gladiator. Of course, neither is happy with their choices and both realize it thanks to their reunion.

If any of that sounds funny, it is because you didn’t have to listen to them explaining it. That is what they do: talk and talk and talk. In addition to their personal lives, they also discuss the genocide of the fish people. Even though Max looks human, he is part fish person, so it understandably disturbs him when Turboschmuck, a candidate for Galactic Emperor, advocates another round of mass murder.

Presumably, Turboschmuck was intended to satirize Trump, but jokes about genocide (ha ha, geocide, super funny) land quite differently after the 10/7 terrorist attack. Trump is a disaster, but at least he is not chanting genocidal slogans like “from the river to the sea.” Anti-Semitic hatred and violence has exploded post-10/7, which really casts a pall over these tongue-in-cheek bits.

Beyond that, it is hard to tell whether Litwak was deliberate going for a campy ultra-DIY-Ed Wood look, or if
Molli and Max was simply cobbled together on the cheap. It is a problem that viewers have to guess. Regardless, all the mumblecore chatter gets to be like fingernails across a blackboard.

Zosia Mamet (daughter of the great playwright) and Aristotle Athari have zero chemistry as the title characters. Again, it is possible that is part of the “joke,” but viewers still must sit through their neurotic musings and aimless conversations. Everything just feels off in terms of tone and tempo.

Sitting through this film is a real chore. Some very talented people contributed as cast and crew, but somehow it just all went awry. Oh well, sometimes that happens. Better luck next time everybody. Not recommended,
Molli and Max in the Future opens Friday (2/9) in New York at the Cinema Village.