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Does Her Deserve An Oscar?

Sorry Joaquin, but no freaking way.

Andrew Klavan


January 22, 2014 - 8:00 am
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One of the reasons I don’t write many reviews in mainstream venues anymore is that I don’t like panning things. Books are hard to write, movies are hard to make. It’s easy, and often amusing, to sneer at the failures but I know the process of creation well and hurling slings and arrows at another man’s heart and soul is not as much fun as it looks. It especially bugs me when people attack an artist’s work because they don’t like his politics or off-screen antics. Jim Carrey may be a screaming idiot when it comes to the subject of guns but he’s made some very good movies and there aren’t many people who can say the same.

But a reviewer’s first responsibility isn’t to the artist, it’s to the audience, the folks who are going to spend their good money on the product. If you’re not willing to pan something, you shouldn’t agree to review it in the first place. So I turn down a lot of review assignments on the off-chance I’ll have to slaughter a colleague in the name of honesty. And even in a blog, more often than not I pass over the movies and books I don’t like in silence.

Her, however, has been nominated for an Academy Award so I feel compelled to at least say this: no freaking way. I understand the idea that some smaller movies that aren’t necessarily popular with the mainstream crowd might still be deserving of award attention. But Her is not one of those movies. It’s bad. Its plot — a guy falls in love with the artificial intelligence of a new computer operating system — is an already played-out and unoriginal version of Pygmalion. (See everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey to 2002′s Simone). Its characters are collections of ideas rather than actual personalities — even the wonderful Amy Adams has to struggle to make her cliched nothing of a part come to life. And, most importantly, its central performance is just brutally dull.

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When I first saw the cover picture I first thought it's a 70s gay movie -- maybe some transgender references and sex changes too. Then I learned what it was about and still can't believe it's not really about the gay scene in the 70s. So I think people who are attracted to that vibe will go and see it and people who learn about it will go and see it -- though it doesn't look like anything scifi-ish -- and it all comes down to misleading (but effective) marketing. Like Coke now advertizing to gays to capture that market. Klavan's probably right: it's a stink-her.
1 year ago
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Or, as Bob & Tom might say, "Norfolk & Waypal!"
1 year ago
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