Boston's Alternative Source! image!

R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 10/16/1997,


RocketMan poses two important questions: Is there life on Mars? And what happens if you fart in a spacesuit? Whereas the first remains a mystery, anyone who's seen the previews knows that Harland Williams answers the latter in RocketMan's defining scene. Williams plays Fred Randall, a goofball computer-guy turned astronaut for the first Mars mission. At first the crew resent Randall's bungling (he serves hemorrhoid cream for dinner!), but eventually they learn to love him when he shows heart, befriends the obligatory chimp, and saves the day in heartwarming Disney fashion. This could have been Williams's Ace Ventura, but the film's five good jokes are spread out over its 90 minutes, and Williams lacks the charisma to jump-start his career, or even carry his own vehicle. Instead, he hams up the dork role, mugs relentlessly, sings campy songs, and makes off-color Chinese jokes. RocketMan doesn't stink, it just runs out of gas. At the Copley Place, the Fresh Pond, and the Chestnut Hill and in the suburbs.

-- Dan Tobin