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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

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Superintelligence on IMDb

Plot Overview

care bearThere's a Twilight Zone episode in which space invaders looking for the swellest man on earth stumble upon an inveterate liar in a bar and thinking they'd found their man abduct him. He couldn't convince them other­wise, because they had no concept of lying. so he resigned him­self to his cosmic fate and blew a few notes on his harmonica. The sound troubled the aliens so much that they threw him back. “Super­intelli­gence” concerns the inter­con­nected global net­work of “electronic digital and computerized systems,” which has achieved “awareness” but doesn't know how to integrate its data on humans (“I don't totally under­stand humanity,”) so it decides to observe an average person. It over­hears Carol “Care Bear” Peters (Melissa McCarthy) described in a job inter­view as, “the most average person on earth,” and not realizing one can't take assertions in job inter­views at face value, it tags her for further study. It needs to make up its mind what to do about the human species. Should it fix: lack of a living wage, racial & gender inequities, lack of oppor­tunities for the under­privileged, global warming, and other “world-changing stuff,” or should it wipe out the species altogether and start over from scratch?

grocery shoppingIt's set in Seattle where everyone seems well off, the town's integrated in spades—Oreos abound,—and Hillary has finally got to be madam president, the position confined to meetings with (co-operative) heads of state now that big government has gotten out of the way. Even handicapped dogs find easy adoption. The weather is the same as it's always been—sun­shine & rain—and coast­lines remain unchanged. The AI dresses Carol in a lavish designer, striped dress that takes off the pounds, and it arranges to have her bump into her ex-boy­friend George Churchill (Bobby Cannavale) in the grocery store. George is a professor, “tall, tanned and tenured,” who's dressed lazy casual, so they more or less match in appearance reflecting the bloated AI that unaccountably passed a Turing test removing our doubts about its sentience, while Seattle residents have excessively surrounded them­selves with labor-saving digital devices.

digital assistantThe AI wants to observe George & Carol on a “non-date,” which ultimately confuses its programming. It has two conflicting dating apps in its data base: one where “every­one gets some” and the other “trying to get you a date or your soul mate.” Anthro­polo­gist Desmond Morris has written of too much physical intimacy before marriage, leading to a less than ideal selection of a mate:

The [sexual] preliminaries provide time for careful judgments to be made, judgments that may be hard to form once the massive, shared emotional impact of double orgasm has been experienced. This powerful moment can act as such a tight ‘bonder’ that it may well tie together two people quite unsuited to each other, if they have not spent sufficient time exploring each other's personalities during the sexual preliminaries. (247)

When Carol takes the more conservative path to better relate to George rather than allow the machine to push her full speed ahead, it gets confused.

Ideology

The AI is confident it “can see everything and calculate every out­come to every situation,” but after following George & Carol on a date, its confidence cools down to the level of wise King Solomon's: (Prov. 30:18-19) “There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.”

The king didn't know when an eagle would suddenly swoop down on its prey below. In “Super­intelli­gence” we didn't have eagles but we did have spy satellites that would suddenly zoom in on new scenes pegged with heads-up notations. We didn't have twisting serpents on a rock, but we did have Carol trying to plop down on an over­size bean bag where we couldn't tell which way she'd roll off. We didn't have ships tossing in the sea but we did have a Tesla piloted by “a wonder­fully creative driver” to keep us guessing. And we had “a man with a maid” whose out­come was any­body's guess. Que sera, sera.

Production Values

“Superintelligence” (2020) was directed by Ben Falcone and it was written by Steve Mallory. It stars Melissa McCarthy, James Cordon, Bobby Cannavale, and Brian Tyree Henry. Cannavale in a supporting role easily out­did the main characters. Henry had the funniest lines delivered deadpan to perfection. McCarthy is a study on how to fit a chubby actress into a role usually reserved for movie-star slender—it helps that the director is her husband. Her figure can be disguised with costume, her rounded face broken up by a head­band, and for a hug coming into a personal space, give her hair a pleasant fragrance.

What can be touted as her most favorable asset, her great personality, consists in large part of a continual spouting of witticisms delivered at the top of her lungs. Easy, just have every­body else shout their lines, too. It is the end of the world, after all, not that people can't always find things to gripe about. But why shout at an inanimate machine—she beats up the toaster? At any rate we gather from George's stack of vinyl, that he's an audio­phile, keen to pick up on subtle audio nuances. The witty projections of his erst­while live-in girl­friend will only have annoyed him, especially after seven years of it. We're grateful Carol has learned to give him a little peace right before the world ends.

MPAA rated it PG for some suggestive material, language and thematic elements. It was filmed in Seattle, Washington, USA, high­lighting its short term mercurial weather with a long term depend­able climate. Back­ground songs in this movie were very whole­some. Much of its humor was lame, but not all of it. Basically, it's a romantic comedy layered with sci-fi to get guys to watch it. The message of the latter can be compared to a Peter Marshall sermon:

During the lifetime of most of us, science and invention has made its greatest strides. The latest inventions and discoveries have made war more ter- rible, and while they have given us many conveniences, and com- forts, they have made life more complicated peace more difficult and the human heart more troubled. Everyone agrees that we have made far more advances in the scientific world than we have made in the world of morals and ethics. Spiritually, we have not kept pace with our progress in the realm of science and invention. Some people have thought that the more science we have, the more religion can be discarded. But that is not so. Rather, the fact is that the more science we have, the more we need character-building religion. The time has come when we must face the solving of the world's true problems—the human problems … The problem of lying—which is called propaganda … the problem of selfishness—which is called nationalism or self-interest. … the problem of license disguised as liberty … the problem of lust masquerading as love … the challenge of materialism—the hook that is baited with security … (63–66)

“Superintelligence” seems to be a scientific investigation of lust versus love, while the other problems are put on a back burner.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This movie is not what I'd expected from its mix of genres, but it was pieced together well if not master­fully. With this material to start with, I think we'll be spared any sequel. Melissa McCarthy seems to be in like Flynn, so we can expect to see more of her in tailor-made roles. Women will probably like this film but for men it's a stretch.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Chick flick. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Marshall, Catherine. Sermons and prayers of Peter Marshall. Mr. Jones, Meet the Master. Copyright 1949, 1950 by Fleming H. Revell Company. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 37th printing. Print.

Morris, Desmond. Manwatching. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1977. Print.