They Discovered Mumblecore on Mars! The L Magazine

In addition to its fluency in contemporary indie American cinema’s styles of storytelling and dialog, Geoff Marslett’s Mars is a throwback to the innumerable and often indistinguishable space-race B movies of the 50s and 60s that analogized journeys to distant planets and the iconography of Western settler narratives. The casting of Kinky Friedman as an actual cowboy president and repeated requests that the mission’s mostly symbolic leader Charlie Brownsville (Mark Duplass), in his custom-embroidered NASA onesie, behave more like John Wayne, acknowledge the self-conscious Cold War rhetoric of this near-future space rom-com. Propelled by a fictionalized account of 2003’s real launch and loss of a Mars rover, we jet forward to 2014, when the Europeans are sending a new robot, A.R.T., while NASA puts together a manned mission with the once heroic Charlie as media figurehead along with kiwi Casey Cook (Zoe Simpson) and pilot Hank Morrison (Paul Gordon).