writer-director Spike Jonze doesnít give any credit, this is very close
to director Craig Gillespieís Lars and the Real Girl (2007), in
which Ryan Gosling played a guy who fell in love with a plastic girl and
took her everywhere with him, everyone accepting this lunacy as normal.
This takes the idea of falling in love with something that isnít human
with a big twist from Larsí.
Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a wimpy guy coming out of a failed
marriage who writes computer love letters for others in the near future
Los Angeles. He becomes infatuated with the bodiless voice of his
operating system which has artificial intelligence. The voice (never
seen, moreís the pity, Scarlett Johansson) becomes a living presence.
Itís 180 degrees apart from Lars, in that Goslingís girl could be
seen but obviously couldnít communicate since she was made out of
plastic and air. Theodoreís girl is just the opposite. All she can do is
communicate since she has no body.
could have been an intuitive, sensitive commentary of the meaning of
love and its relationship to sex, and how people can get hooked on
unseen computer acquaintances. Unfortunately, itís just a silly, not
credible meander down a road to nowhere.
Adams makes a nice appearance as Theodoreís understanding neighbor.
Olivia Wilde gives a good, realistic performance as a mercurial blind
date of Theodoreís. Rooney Mara is very good as Theodoreís former wife.
But the best of all is Johansson as the voice without a body. She is so
good that one could understand how Theodore could get hooked, although
you have to be pretty stupid to fall in love with a voice you know for a
fact is just something that is computer-generated.
were people in my screening who were laughing. Incredulously, I asked my
guest if she thought it was funny and she said not. Maybe they were
laughing at and not with.
failed the watch test dismally. I think I started looking five minutes
in, literally counting the seconds. One of the happiest days of this
December occurred when my watch told me there was less than an hour to
think that being a film critic is a great job, but a critic is pretty
much honor-bound to stay to the end of a film, whereas ordinary mortals
can bolt at any time (and even get a refund). Films like this make a
criticís job worse than hard labor on a rock pile.
December 17, 2013