Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: Superintelligence

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Copyright: HBO Max

Thanksgiving, a time for all you Americans out there to be thankful for the few things in your life worth keeping. For us across the pond, I’m sure we look relatively weird on bonfire night, and I’d say the same for you all over there if you didn’t get to couple this holiday with good food. But this year, America has decided to pair Thanksgiving, a time for a literal giving of thanks, a reflection on what they can appreciate, with Superintelligence, a comedy straight from HBO starring Melissa McCarthy and James Corden. I don’t need to tell you that I am truly not thankful for this.  

As sluggish an idea as it was five years ago when Absolutely Anything failed to leave absolutely any sort of mark on the landscape of comedy filmmaking, Superintelligence is an agonizing, grating piece that follows the ordinary life of Carol Peters (McCarthy). Her actions and interactions are judged by our titular Superintelligence (Corden), as they deliberate on whether to save or enslave the human race. If you can think of a worse leading pair, then please let me know, because even the worst of the worst would struggle to give this pairing of McCarthy and Corden a run for their money. Although playing a super, and I hesitate to use this word but, intelligent, artificial intelligence, Corden just plays himself. He’s introduced as himself but thankfully in vocal form only. 

My genuinely held fear that James Corden hides in my tech and electric items is realised in Superintelligence, but that’s about as far as it takes this notion. He’s there, dithering around as a disembodied voice. His rather jovial tone in the concept of destroying Earth is rather placid, which I am truly grateful for since it stops him from singing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop him speaking, and this collection of oxygen wasters stumble through a film with similar pangs to Jexi, which had equally troublesome consequences for its two-dimensional characters and ploddingly dense narrative. I suppose it’s because I spend most days watching films, but it does puzzle and worry me that someone out there will finish this movie, turn to their loved ones and say, “that was good”. 

The glaringly obvious puns we can make about Superintelligence aren’t worth writing down, it’d be an insult to your intelligence, but not as great an affront as this latest Falcone and McCarthy collaboration. The twisted minds who brought us this are clearly devoid of love for their audience, the seething bile thrown at the screen oozes out of my television at an alarming rate. I get the feeling Microsoft funded a bit of this film, considering all the product placement and how great the offices of Microsoft look. Cosy, fun, and vibrant! The offices, not the artificial hellscape crafted by Falcone and company in Superintelligence. An absolute disaster from start to finish, and a real insult to audiences who will have expected something even slightly better than a blatant, flippant cash-grab.