If you've read Posy's latest blog, you know that we like Netflix. You also know that I ordered Short Circuit. In fact I just finished watching it for the first time since I was 15 years old, the approximate maturity level of every actor in the film. Except the robot.
Even if you haven't seen this movie, if you spent any time in the 80s you can guess where it's going:
1. To be a vehicle for Steve Guttenberg and/or Ally Sheedy
2. To introduce audiences to the concept of a misunderstood robot that could love
3. To turn you, the viewer, into an empathy-retching machine
Here's what I think.
The robot was actually the least-annoying one in the whole movie. First it gets hit by a stray bolt of lightning from a storm passing through some distant mountains and gets a robot soul. From there it wastes no time out-classing all of the people actors by escaping the compound and not swearing every third line of dialog. It also displays an emotional understanding of its situation. It also deflects bullets with a hubcap, and pushes one of its evil twin robots into an outhouse, which then explodes poop everywhere.
Am I asking too much? Is there a story in this? Sure there is. All you do is take away Steve Guttenberg, because he really can't act. Not even poorly. Then you take out his greasy, sweaty-palmed East-Indian colleague who exaggerates his own accent and uses the English language for target practice by saying things like "Well the cat sure dragged in a sight for sore eyes." Then remove Ally Sheedy, who instantly becomes so attracted to the unfamiliar robot that when they cut to the next scene it's morning, and he's making pancakes, and I'm officially worried. (Maybe she's just so repelled by Steve Guttenberg's plappiness, if I might coin a phrase.)
Finally, get rid of the gravy-thick Army guy who wants to blow it up, even though it cost 11 million dollars, along with his scientist boss who nags at him not to. You have now eliminated all of the formulaic characters, and the robot is free to discover life, and I am free to not go looking for a hammer.
I give it two stars -- one for the robot's tolerance of idiots, and one for its laser gun that can blow up tanks. **