Friday, 27 June 2014



I really want to get this out of the way quickly because it's simply one of the most insufferable films of recent years. I honestly can't remember being so annoyed by any of the year's releases (with the possible exception of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, and it was obvious that was going to stink anyway): it's stupid, irritating, takes a ridiculous amount of time to go absolutely nowhere and does nothing when it gets there. It's nicely photographed, but that it.

Set slightly in the future when the next generation of home operating systems include intuition and sentience, Her details the love affair between letter-writer Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix with 70s comedy/porn moustache) and his new OS, voiced by an unseen Scarlett Johansson. To begin with "Samantha" is a terrific assistant: efficiently clearing his backlog of emails and helping him with an interactive video game that involves swearing at some kind of alien baby. But the relationship develops in strange ways, strangest of which is sexual: "Samantha" wants to become human, to have a real body and even goes so far as to (independently) obtain a sex surrogate to act out her role! (Cue approximately ten minutes of me bellowing "This is stupid!" and miscellaneous profanities at the screen.) Eventually, she leaves him, which probably isn't covered in the manufacturer's warranty.

What Theodore learns from Samantha is precisely nothing: he's surrounded by beautiful, glamorous women (Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Portia Doubleday) who in any sane universe would be as far out of his league as Martians; he's in with a shot at all of them yet prefers to cuddle up with his cellphone because, what, it understands him? What Samantha learns from Theodore is the inability to complete a coherent sentence, resorting to sweary mumbling and, oh, I don't know, it's like... f***, you know... I don't know, it's just... f***. And this meandering, mumbly, noodly nonsense goes on for over two hours. With Under The Skin, this makes two terrible Scarlett Johansson films this year and it's only June. Absolute toss.


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