NASA signs 'The Rock' to make it seem cool

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who plays an astronaut in the new movie "Planet 51," is NASA's latest endorser, reminding people just how useful space travel really is. The Rock? Really?

Perhaps space travel has become old. Perhaps people have come to take it for granted. It's been seen in so many movies. So many space shuttles have taken off and returned to Earth that we think little more of them than we do of jumbo jets.

NASA therefore has to use its imagination to persuade tomorrow's generations that space travel continues to be a large step for man.

One small step in this process is a new public service annoucnement featuring that fearsome space creature, "The Rock." Dwayne Johnson himself, a man who has appeared in so many scientifically concocted movies such as WWF SmackDown, WWE Backlash, and WWE Crush Hour, is now telling kids that NASA is cool.

Why Johnson? Well, he plays Captain Chuck Baker in the new movie "Planet 51." The voice of Chuck Baker, to be precise. And that seems to be a sufficient connection for him to tell us that all of the clever things NASA discovers in the dark and beyond are also put to use here on the mundane round lump called Earth.

I know Johnson is trying to inspire, but when he tells us that NASA technologies allow us to enjoy the freeze-dried fruit in our cereal, I wonder how many viewers will look at their Raisin Bran with a jaundiced eye and quivering lips.

The Rock is a professional. He convinced when he played Agent 23 in "Get Smart," just as he did when he when he played Rick Smith in "Reno 911."

But even he struggles with the last line of this PSA. For reasons best known to someone, somewhere, perhaps even out there, Johnson is required to end this PSA with the words" There's no space like home."

Oh, goodness. He's Dwayne Johnson. He's the Rock. Couldn't they have got him to deliver an NASA smackdown? Or are we all just trying to nice-ify our images to the point of blandness?

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