The Stream: A premise that confirms all of our biggest fears.
The Big Screen: Melissa McCarthy’s easy charm and Brian Tyree Henry’s scene-stealing quips.
The Final Bill: Light, funny and surprisingly enjoyable.– Trip Fontaine
Director: Ben Falcone
Writers: Steve Mallory
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, James Corden, Bryan Tyree Henry, Bobby Cannavale
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi
Runtime: 1 hour 46 minutes
Platform: HBO Max
Superintelligence premiered on HBO Max to very little fanfare a week ago in the midst of the holiday season and Netflix flooding the market with its Oscar contenders. Here’s a comedy starring Melissa McCarthy directed by her husband, Ben Falcone, again as the most average human, who is chosen by an A.I. to prove that the human race is worth saving. That’s a hefty premise, but does the comedy live up to it.
Why would HBO Max drop this movie without any promotion? It doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in the production. McCarthy and Falcone have teamed up on a number of films over the years to varying degrees of success: Tammy, Life of the Party, and The Boss. McCarthy has a zany energy, and Falcone directs to her sensibilities. Superintelligence is another entry into their filmography, but it doesn’t feel special. The plot is a pretty high concept: a “superintelligence” like an Alexa, voiced by James Corden, takes over the electronics around McCarthy’s character, Carol, and gives her three days to save the world by showing him why the human races should not be destroyed. Carol is an average, everyday woman unlike many of the daffy characters McCarthy can play. Along the way, Carol enlists her friend, Dennis, played by Brian Tyree Henry, to help, and she reconnects at the superintelligence’s urging with an ex-boyfriend, George, played by Bobby Cannavale.
While Superintelligence feels like just another passable comedy, that is why it is so enjoyable. You figure out where it is going early on, so you can enjoy how it gets there. Sometimes we need something to be just fine. We’ve all fretted about Alexa taking over the world – let’s play it for laughs, right? As far as performance, Melissa McCarthy is pretty reined in here, and she is quite charming and fun. We may be used to her out-sized characters like Michelle Darnell in The Boss or Megan from Bridesmaids, but it good to see her as a normal person. She has some good lines here and there. McCarthy also has good chemistry with her love interest, which makes the romantic element of the movie work. Brian Tyree Henry is so funny in his few scenes. He makes the most of his limited screen time. They are the standouts in a generally good case.
Ultimately, Superintelligence isn’t earth-shattering, but it is good enough. It’s a brisk comedy, full of charming actors doing their jobs well. In fact, it may be the kind of movie you watch over and over just because it is so easy to watch. Put it on with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy.
S2S: Just to add on to what you’ve said, Trip. This is loosely women’s Bruce Almighty brought to the future. And I’ll admit as I watch every single Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movie, I love these romantic comedies. This movie is goofy enough and gives me the butterflies. In my opinion, it’s a bit corny but definitely worth watching on a stream or a big screen.