Fellas: If Siri actually worked properly and was useful, would you fall in love with her? What if she sounded like Scarlett Johansson?
As you await the coming singularity at which point technological, artificial intelligence becomes self-aware, ponder the answer to those questions as you watch the trailer for what is sure to be the favorite rom-com of our eventual robot overlords: Spike Jonze’s Her, in which Joaquin Phoenix, reeling from a sad breakup, falls in love with the much-more-efficient-than-the-real-thing "Samantha," a Siri-like virtual assistant app voiced by ScarJo.
Spike Jonze, despite receiving his first Oscar nomination for Best Director for Being John Malkovich 14 years ago, isn’t exactly prolific: Her is but his fourth feature film. (For what it’s worth, he’s also made several music videos and docs and skateboarding videos in that time). In its own way, Her looks almost as boldly high-concept as Being John Malkovich, though. It’s not hard to imagine the pitch of "Sad dude falls in love with Siri," and the entire room falling silent as everyone mentally ran through the story beats. (One could also say that it’s perhaps as fantastical as Jonze’s debut, given that there’s not so much as a single scene in the trailer in which Scarlett Johansson tells Joaquin Phoenix that "I don’t understand Play Sunken Trick Lumbar" after he asks her to play some Kendrick Lamar on his phone.)
Hilarious jokes aside about how poorly Siri works, even though it’s been on our phones for two years already, the trailer to Her looks like it might be the hint of something pretty special. The film looks like a sad, weird, sentimental movie about loneliness, our increasing sense of technology-driven alienation, and the attachment that we feel to our devices -- all told through the viewpoint of one of our more quixotic male movie stars as the lonely stand-in for all of tech-obsessed humanity and one of our most likable female leads as the manic pixie dream app he falls for. Her pretty much had us at "Spike Jonze," but with meaty subject matter like that behind him, this is one to anticipate.