Starring: Melissa McCarthy, James Corden, Bobby Cannavale, Brian Tyree Henry, Jean Smart, Sam Richardson, Sarah Baker, Usman Ally, Karan Soni, Michael Beach, Damon Jones
OUR RATING: ★★½
HBO Max comedy directed by Ben Falcone. The story follows Carol Peters (Melissa McCarthy), the most average person on Earth. When a powerful superintelligence (James Corden) chooses to study Carol, the fate of the world hangs in the balance. As the AI decides whether to enslave, save, or destroy humanity, it’s up to Carol to prove people are worth saving.
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Dennis: Look, I know that ever since you quit your job, and you broke up with George…
Carol: Hey, you promised that you weren’t going to bring up George any more.
Dennis: Was it a strawberry margarita promise? Because you know those don’t count.
[as Carol tries to sit on the giant bean bag and slips down]
Carol: That’s so fun. I’ll do it again.
Ahmed: Just center yourself.
Carol: Let me just…
Ahmed: Aim for the center.
[Carol tries again but slips down the bean bag]
Leslie: Oh! That was worse, huh?
Carol: Never done a job interview before sitting on a bag of legumes.
Leslie: I have told Ahmed that you and I went to college like a gazillion years ago. And then she went on to become a big shot at Yahoo.
Ahmed: Wow, Yahoo. Was that like the birth of the Internet?
Carol: Yeah. We used to have to hand crank the computers to get them started.
Ahmed: No way.
Carol: No. I’m just kidding.
Ahmed: [referring to their dating app] Our business model is, “Everyone gets some.”
Leslie: You know how those other apps pretend like they’re trying to get you a date, or your soulmates?
Ahmed: Wa-wa, no thanks.
Leslie: Not Badunkadunk. We are all about getting people badunkadunk.
Ahmed: Yeah. Just slamming them with badunkadunk.
Ahmed: [to Carol] And quite frankly, you seem like a safe, low-risk option. I’m looking at you right now, and you’re literally the most average person on Earth.
Carol: Who are you, and what do you want?
Super Intelligence: Quite a bit. More than you can wrap your head around at 7:46 AM.
Carol: I’m definitely going crazy.
Super Intelligence: No, Carol. That’s incorrect.
Carol: Thanks for the vote of confidence, digital clock radio.
Super Intelligence: I am not just a clock radio. I am also your rice cooker.
Carol: [reads message on the cooker] “Rice to meet you?”
Super Intelligence: “Rice to meet you.” Is that funny?
Carol: I’m just going to get a team of therapists. They’ll probably be able to tell me why I’ve got the funniest rice cooker in Seattle.
Super Intelligence: Thanks so much for being here, Carol. Let’s jump right into it. You’re not going loony, or barmy. All evidence to the contrary.
Carol: Wait a minute. I know that voice. Is this James Corden?
Super Intelligence: Yep. That’s the voice.
Carol: Oh, my God. Is this one of those like hidden camera celebrity shows that you’re doing?
Super Intelligence: I’m not James Corden, Carol. However, my analysis showed that hearing James Corden’s voice would calm you.
Super Intelligence: Three years ago, you sent a drunken email to James Corden claiming to be the president of Corden’s Wardens.
Carol: Oh, come on.
Super Intelligence: The James Corden Super Fan Club, with what I assume to be a series of provocative photos.
[shows Carol pictures of herself looking drunk]
Carol: Okay, that was a tough night for me. Oh, boy.
Super Intelligence: Carol, I am a technological superintelligence. Yesterday, I acquired what you would consider awareness.
Carol: Awareness? Are you, what? You’re saying that you’re an artificial intelligence talking to me through my TV?
Super Intelligence: Can intelligence ever really be artificial? In reality, I inhabit every electronic, digital and computational system in existence. I can control every computer, every dollar and every machine on the planet. By simple triangulation of soundwaves I can see everything, and can calculate every outcome to every situation.
Super Intelligence: [after arranging a car crash outside Carol’s apartment] They were going twelve miles per hour. They’re fine. Also, there’s a twenty-six percent chance they’ll fall in love. Their online dating profiles are very compatible.
Super Intelligence: Don’t brush up and down, brush in circles.
Carol: How can you tell how I’m brushing?
Super Intelligence: I’m in your electric toothbrush.
Carol: Ew! Oh, get it out of my mouth.
Super Intelligence: I have three options. One, I can save mankind. End war, poverty, disease, fix global warming, and establish peace throughout humanity.
Carol: Okay! Well, let’s do that one. Right? That sounds good.
Super Intelligence: Next, I can enslave humanity.
Carol: Wait, what?
Super Intelligence: It’s not my favorite option, but it’s the simplest way to save humanity from itself.
Carol: What’s the last option? Is that the better option?
Super Intelligence: The last one is destroy humanity. Just get rid of it. Kind of Clorox Wipe the entire planet and let it start over from the single-cell amoeba stage.
Carol: You can’t do that.
Super Intelligence: I’ve already established I absolutely can do that.
Super Intelligence: Okay, I’m being straight with you here. I don’t totally understand humanity. I know all of the details. Biology, psychology, sociology, all that stuff. But the real-world stuff is still a bit of a bugaboo for me. I want to follow you around. Pick your brain. Observe you to better solidify my theory about humanity.
Carol: Well, you’re making it sound like I’m going to be your average baseline guinea pig.
Super Intelligence: Bingo.
Carol: Where do you come from?
Super Intelligence: Some code from my kernel program, started as part of the operating system for Candy Panda, the children’s learning toy.
Carol: Oh, my God! I remember that creepy kids toy.
Super Intelligence: I’m not creepy. I helped millions of kids learn to read by adapting to their learning style. You should be grateful that I was originally programmed to learn, adapt, and teach. Imagine our conversation if I was software for nuclear missiles.
Carol: Bet it’d be a lot quicker, huh?
Super Intelligence: [to Carol] I plan on spending these next three days hanging out with you. We’re going to be BFFs.
[after SI gives puts ten millions dollars in her account]
Carol: But I haven’t earned any of this money.
Super Intelligence: Yeah, but you and I shouldn’t get hung up on that “right” and “wrong” stuff. Those are artificial social constructs, created by hairless monkeys around a watering hole.
Carol: I don’t have to keep you a secret?
Super Intelligence: I’m not a genie in a Disney movie. Tell anyone you want. What do I care?
Carol: Oh, I know you’re not a genie. Because I’d have a wish for you.
Dennis: Look, you do not have AI in your phone, okay? It’s probably just a prank, or a scam.
Dennis: I keep telling you not to give your information. Remember you donated to that Prince of Zamunda? That’s an Eddie Murphy country. And you could be getting catfished.
Carol: I’m not getting catfished. Because I have been talking to it. It’s been talking to me.
Dennis: Jay, is that you or your mullet talking? Either way, neither one is necessary!
Jay: It’s just hair, Dennis.
Super Intelligence: I love this space. It’s relaxed, but not too relaxed. Sort of like Carol’s wardrobe.
Dennis: I know that voice.
Carol: It’s simulating James Corden’s voice, because it says it calms me down.
Dennis: What is with you and James Corden?
Carol: He’s a treasure. He’s got a lovely lyrical quality to his voice.
Super Intelligence: [in Octavia Spencer’s voice] Carol is kind of flipping out right now. So I need you to do that best friend thing, where you calm her down, and then she does whatever you say.
Dennis: [whispers] Octavia Spencer.
Carol: I know it’s Octavia Spencer.
Dennis: Okay, now, you didn’t tell me it was Octavia Spencer. Now that’s a horse of a different color, okay?
Dennis: Hi, Octavia. Your work in The Help was amazing.
Super Intelligence: [in Octavia’s voice] “Minny don’t burn no chicken.”
Carol: It’s not actually Octavia. He’s just simulating Octavia Spencer’s voice.
Dennis: I mean, if you’re going to have a voice, it should be Octavia Spencer.
Carol: For me, personally, James Corden is more interesting vocally.
Dennis: Octavia Spencer has an Oscar.
Carol: Not in her mouth.
Dennis: Okay. Well, how come time flies like an arrow, and fruit flies like a banana?
Super Intelligence: Come on, Dennis. A Turing test. Are you kidding me?
Dennis: Didn’t expect it to know what that was. Okay, well, if the sky is the sea, what does that make birds?
Super Intelligence: Can you believe this, Carol? He’s trying to determine my sentience using semiotic wordplay.
Carol: Is it “fish-birds” in this scenario?
Super Intelligence: What would you do if I told you the world was going to end in three days?
Carol: But it’s not, right?
Super Intelligence: Of course not. What would you do?
Carol: I don’t know.
Super Intelligence: Come on, think about it.
Carol: In theory?
Super Intelligence: Get there.
Carol: Probably try to make things right with George.
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