Dog’s Movie House: Hulu’s “Robots” Is Entertaining Fare That Doesn’t Quite Hit The Bullseye!
“Robots” features a science fiction premise that I found quite interesting. What if robot doubles could develop their own emotional responses. It’s a theme that’s been investigated in everything from “Blade Runner” to “Her” all with interesting results, but it’s never been quite presented this way before. The idea of a satire about a right-wing government achieving their objective (anti-immigration) without actually solving the alleged problem is also ripe for cinematic treatment. Instead, “Robots” ventures down the path of the relationship comedy and in that particular venture, the filmmakers are only partially successful.
One of the main reasons is that our hero Charles is, to put it bluntly, and egotistical asshat who has no sense of responsiblity whatsoever. He even uses E2 to go to work for him. He’s a hard person with which to identify, let alone like, and although the film hints at past hurts that make him the way he is, those hurts aren’t able to be explored very much during the film’s 97 minute running time. Woodley’s Elaine isn’t much better, but she’s at least a little more sympathetic than Charles, who seems not only selfish but a bit stupid when it comes to doing things for himself. I find this more of the fault of the uneven script by Anthony Hines and Casper Christensen (who also handle the directing duties) than the performances. Whitehall and Woodley are particularly good here even if their characters are not.
The movie settles into something of a groove as “Robots” turns into a road film of sorts, with Charles and Elaine seemingly on the run after being framed for a mass shooting by their robotic counterparts. The two then start to bond and the inevitable period of personal growth begins, spurred by situations in which one has to help the other. Some of the scenarios are fun, such as Elaine and Charles having to masquerade as robot servents to stop their double’s wedding or the reveal of a super slutty E3 (played by Woodley in a skimpy Catholic schoolgirl outfit, no lease) created by the nerdy inventor of these robots Zach (Paul Rust). Others, including anything involving Charles obese and obnoxiouis friend Ashley (Paul Jurewicz) are aggravating as hell and not funny at all. The less Ashley’s onscreen the better, as that character brings the movie down several notches whenever he appears.
Overall “Robots” is fairly entertaining fair that suffers from having too many ideas and not enough attention to any of them. Whitehall and Woodley do a good job with the material given and constantly make the movie watchable, however, and some of the themes are definitely worth further exploration, even if the film itself is not as funny as it wants to be. “Robots” is now streaming exclusively on Hulu. 2 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!