Fly Me to the Moon Review

For a film with an energy similar to Frank Sinatra’s 1964 classic recording, Fly Me to the Moon is a pretty entertaining film that revels in its eccentric humor. With a witty script and pacing that keeps things rolling quickly, this film proudly plays around with the idea of “fake it till you make it.” This is even more so thanks to Greg Berlanti, who has stepped up his directing game in recent years.

Fly Me to the Moon follows marketing specialist Kelly Jones, who has found herself in a pickle after being hired to help promote NASA’s Apollo program. While she develops a close relationship with director Cole Davis, she also must prove that she was a worthy hire by staging a fake moon landing.

It does not go without saying that Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum, who play Kelly and Cole respectively, ultimately carry this film. Johansson is able to bring a cunning, yet heartfelt performance to Kelly, who is a resourceful character all on her own. On the other hand, Tatum plays into a more grumpier role with Cole, yet gives him a sincerity that makes the character’s beliefs justified. Both characters have this middle ground to build off of, which is happily explored between the close moments with the two.

Furthermore, the side cast does a great job bouncing off of the film’s leads and each other. Woody Harrelson’s Moe, one of Nixon’s government lackeys, makes for a good antagonist as he tries to pull his own tricks. In the more serious scenes, he could be a little bit terrifying as the tone continually shifts. Jim Rash’s Lance Vespertine takes the cake for being the funniest side character thanks to Rash’s skillset as a comedian. He continually drops his own input as a director with some great comedic timing later in the film.

To compliment its great cast, Fly Me to the Moon’s amusing writing and on-the-go direction keeps viewers hooked. This collaboration from Rose Gilroy and Greg Berlanti gives the film a good amount of expressiveness with some really funny jokes. For example, there’s this consistent joke involving a black cat on the lot being a source of bad luck for the Apollo project’s crew. It eventually pays off, albeit in a way that feels small in the film’s grand scheme of things.

(L-R): Scarlett Johansson as Kelly Jones and Channing Tatum as Cole Davis in Fly Me to the Moon. Photo: Apple Original Films

As for the story itself, it plays much like a more historically accurate version of Moonshot while trying to balance its hilarity and seriousness. This is mostly felt with Kelly and Cole’s own personal dilemmas: none of them are able to outrun their pasts, both literally and emotionally. Cole is heavily reeling from the Apollo 1 incident while Kelly’s past literally surrounds itself around the film’s main idea. 

Berlanti’s direction and Dariusz Wolski’s camera work allows for these more touching parts to sizzle in, though the brisk pacing offers to keep the lightheartedness alive. As such, when the film does more showing than telling with these scenes, it works and further emphasizes the film’s inner message. It’s ultimately better to be your most sincere self than to create or hide behind a moral façade. The film’s yin-yang style of thematic messages happily goes hand-in-hand with the tonal shifts. However, the pacing of the rom-com aspects of Fly Me to the Moon causes it to play into the usual genre tropes.

Though Fly Me to the Moon is mostly a rom-com at heart, it still follows the usual narrative flow that similar films have had. Two people on very different paths find love and build their relationship until trouble comes calling, slowly driving them apart. The film has its classic “lovebirds” scenes and remorseful moments, but it does so in a way that most viewers have seen before. Nonetheless, while there is room to improve, it does not fully detract from the entertaining experience this film gladly provides.

Fly Me to the Moon is a splendid rom-com that’s sure to fly high with a solid blend of comedy, wit, and sincerity. With a charismatic main cast, good direction and clever dialog throughout, this film is definitely a fun summer watch for everyone. Though it might play into the usual tropes, its presentation of its messages surrounding truths and lies will certainly resonate with families across the board.

Fly Me to the Moon arrives in theaters July 12.



Christopher Gallardo is a freelance entertainment writer and critic. While not running The Reel Roller, Chris can be found writing reviews and breakdowns on all things films and TV. Outside of entertainment writing, he’s currently taking classes for a Bachelor’s of Science with a minor in Digital Media & Journalism. Plus, he loves Percy Jackson, animated films and shows, and Fallout! Follow Christopher on Instagram & X.

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