February 6, 2014

Her (2013)

Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams

It's not a totally, completely, wholly unbelievable premise. Really, it's not. Despite the fact that I spend half my time cursing at my computer, not making love to it, I interact with it enough to understand how people feel like they could have a relationship with it. And I've certainly known enough weirdos that spend so much of their life with their face buried in an electronic screen they might as well be making out with it. Hell, after watching Don Jon, where the main character prefers watching porn to real sex, I believe just about anything is possible when it comes to unconventional relationships. So I can see why people want to like this movie.

But you just can't.

Never mind that seriously, the dude falls in love with his f*cking computer (and has sex with it?? really?? was that really necessary??), but we're all supposed to accept that this is common practice in the future? I know this is labeled as a sci-fi movie, but it was not believable enough as such.

For those of you out there who may think I've missed the point of the movie, you're just looking for excuses to refute my position that this movie is lame. I get that the future is going to be full of lonely people and that we are increasingly walling ourselves off from each other and getting lost in our own technology. I understand that love is complex and that movie wants us to think differently about how we experience and express emotions and whether those could translate into an artificial being like an operating system. I've said it before and I'll say it again: a semi-interesting premise does not necessarily equal great entertainment.

And I may not be a Pulitzer Prize writer, but let me be clear - not a single letter he writes in that movie is even halfway decent. And that's supposed to be his profession? They dedicate like, a solid 20 minutes of screen time to him writing letters! All of which sound like he's in a freshman literary comp class where he's trying to impress some girl sitting next to him by writing the deepest thoughts he can summon at 9 am on a Thursday after staying out all night the night before.

In the interest of time, let's summarize the remaining points, shall we? There's no point in turning this review into an existential essay on the unknown when the movie already pretended to be deep enough of the both of us!

  • Scarlett Johansson does a decent job throughout most of the movie, but can't speak above 80 decibels because her voice starts to crack like a 14 year old boy going through puberty. If that's not a negative for the movie, I don't know what is.
  • Though Joaquin Phoenix does a great acting job, he is overshadowed by the large squirrel residing on his upper lip. I thought this movie was supposed to take place in the future, but apparently Joaquin thought it was the 70's. It's all very confusing. 
  • Not to keep harping on the mustache, but Joaquin already kinda looks like a creepster (no offense, Joaquin). I really do like him as an actor, but he's pretty weird and making him a loner dude with molester mustache was a really bad touch. It's hard to even look at him. Except that entire movie is looking at him. In close up detail. For two hours.
  • Every girl in this movie is too hot for Joaquin Phoenix. Every. Single. One. Amy Adams? Too hot. Rooney Mara? Borderline, but still too hot. Random surrogate date chick? Too hot. Olivia Wilde? Come on. Is this movie sci-fi or fantasy??
  • Though the overall plot is perhaps plausible, the overall awkwardness over having your girlfriend also control every aspect of your life is too much to overcome. 
Lastly, let's address those pesky artsy people who keep yapping about the "design" or whatever. Is the movie shot beautifully? Sure. But it reminds me of a particular Friends episode where Joey goes on a date with Kristin Davis and asks Rachel to get rid of her in the morning. When he gets back that afternoon, he discovers Phoebe and Rachel have befriended her and have their hopes set on making the two a couple. They are listing all her attributes to Joey to convince him that Davis is a catch and Phoebe says to him, "She speaks four languages!" He looks back at her in mock amazement and says, "Man, do you know what guys want!"

Pretty much sums up that argument for the rest of the viewing public.

Final word: Like our college freshman writer referenced above, this movie thinks it's much deeper than it really is.

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