December 19, 2016 / 1:03 PM / a year ago

Sci-fi, sex and celebs, yet 'Passengers' disappoints critics

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It seemed like a match made in heaven having two of the hottest young Hollywood stars, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, working together.

However, reviews for their sci-fi romance “Passengers,” which opens in U.S. movie theaters on Wednesday, have not been kind.

“Passengers” is the story of two people on a spaceship headed to a distant colony who wake up 90 years early. There is no way to go back to deep sleep, so they try to find ways to entertain themselves.

Oscar-winner Lawrence, 26, who last year publicly attacked Hollywood’s female pay gap, was paid some $20 million for the movie, according to Hollywood trade publications, double that of Pratt, who has starred in action movies “Jurassic World” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

“Passengers” also marks Lawrence’s first-ever sex scene - a prospect that made her so nervous that she told The Hollywood Reporter last year that she got “really, really drunk” before shooting it.

“I found the build-up to the sex scene awkward,” Lawrence told Reuters in promotions this month for the movie.

Cast members Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt pose at the premiere of "Passengers" in Los Angeles, California U.S., December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

“Then when I got there I realized how un-sexual sex scenes are. You’re sitting there with everyone that you work with and you’re like ‘OK, so I guess my leg will go there’ so it was a lot of build-up for nothing.”

Film critics are feeling similarly let down by the movie overall. “Passengers” has a 30-percent approval rating on review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com and has so far been overlooked in Hollywood’s awards season.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Entertainment Weekly gave the movie a D+, saying “The signs to be hopeful were all there: A pair of dependable movie stars, a bullish Oscar-season spot on the release calendar, a director (Morten Tyldum) hot off of an Oscar-nominated film. But alas, ‘Passengers’ is not very good. In fact, it’s pretty bad.”

Nevertheless, Lawrence and Pratt enjoyed themselves, overcoming the potential downside of acting almost exclusively with each other.

“It could have been really difficult because even just strictly filming wise, there’s no escape route,” Lawrence said.

“There’s no ‘We’ll cut to this if the actor’s bad’. Fortunately, Chris is amazing ... We worked together great, we had fun. That part could have been a nightmare,” she said.

Reporting by Reuters Television; editing by Jill Serjeant and Nick Zieminski

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