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Brent Northup

Passengers

At Cinemark

(PG-13)

Grade: C+

What does a lonely space man do when he wakes up too soon on a 100-year space journey to a distant planet?

Wake up Jennifer Lawrence, of course! Who wouldn’t?

Jim (Chris Pratt) was supposed to sleep soundly until the landing, but a mechanical malfunction woke him up while the rest of the crew hibernated happily. He looked around at the sleeping crew and came to the not-too-surprising decision to wake up the cutest passenger, Aurora.

At first, Aurora enjoys having the spaceship to herself. She believes a malfunction awakened her, too, so she accepts her fate -- and, after surveying all the options, decides to fall in love with the best looking non-comatose man on board.

From here “Passengers” becomes terminally unimaginative science fiction mixed with a lover’s space quarrel.

There are only two reasons to see “Passengers”: Lawrence and Pratt being hot. Until they’re not.

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The $110 million production, which has earned a disappointing $50 million in two weeks, chooses to ignore the intriguing moral and even spiritual questions embedded in space hibernation.

In an age of “cryopreservation” when people are paying to have their body frozen before they die to await cures for their ailments, we ought to ponder the ethics of such choices. Hibernating in space for 100 years -- and leaving friends and relatives behind -- also raises a host of intriguing issues.

The ethical issue of waking up Aurora is touched on, but dropped. In essence, he condemns her to die in space by waking her -- instead of reaching the exotic destination. Interstellar murder? Or not?

Instead of probing these weighty issues, “Passengers” settles for a love spat between beautiful young actors -- one that could just as easily have taken place on a bus trip to Havre: Jim nudges the girl sleeping in seat 11B. “Hey, how ya doin’ ”… and away we go.

Overall, “Passengers” ranks as the least entertaining outing by JLaw in a long while. No amount of natural talent can keep this ship from becoming lost in space.

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