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The Astronaut Farmer

The Astronaut Farmer
Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen, Bruce Dern, Richard Edson, Tim Blake Nelson

Rated: PG  for thematic material, peril and language
Reviewed by: Chris  
Release date: February 23, 2007 Released by: Warner Brothers

After Bad Santa and The Bad News Bears, Billy Bob Thornton goes family-friendly in his newest film. He plays Charlie Farmer, an ex-NASA employee who left the space program early and became a farmer after his father died.

His loving wife Audie (Virginia Madsen) and three children not only put up with his obsession of going into space in a homemade rocket, but actually encourage him. He built a huge rocket in the barn in the back of his house, and they all share in his head-in-the-clouds dream of orbiting the Earth in it.

He walks around in a silver spacesuit and talks of space at the dinner table with the family joining in with word games about his adventure. They're all caught up in the possibilities of Charlie's space travel, no matter how wacky it seems. We think that when it comes down to it, mom will put the brakes on and bring him down to Earth again.

Not so, she's almost as committed to his project as he is. She goes off to work everyday while he stays at home attempting to figure how to pay for thousands of gallons of jet fuel. When he does try to buy some fuel, that's when the federal government comes to town. The feds want to know if he's making a bomb or is he just plain crazy?

The whole town is aware of Charlie Farmer and his rocket. They put up with his behavior, thinking he's just a harmless neighbor. That is, until he loses his cool when the local banker tells him he's so much in debt, they are about to lose the farm.

There's a lot to like here, I enjoyed the kids, who were very natural and who actually appeared to love their dad. I also enjoyed Virginia Madsen, who stood by her man, and I especially liked Billy Bob, who went after his dream no matter what. Put aside all skepticism, and enjoy the ride!

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
The Astronaut Farmer C+ B   B- B     B-

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