A.I. has a challenger

Plot Summary: George Clooney goes into space, maybe meets his wife, maybe comes back home. (Note to director Steven Soderbergh–it really doesn’t take a hundred minutes to tell that, now does it?)

Until I saw Solaris, I thought my college course AA597: Attitude Dynamics of Spacecraft was the most boring way to spend one’s time while still breathing. I was wrong. NOTHING HAPPENS IN THIS MOVIE! I thought someone had accidentally hit the A-B Repeat function on the remote, forcing us to choke on the same cinematic bile over and over. Ice ages have passed in less subjective time than Solaris.

The “plot” (haha) revolves around Clooney’s wife, who has committed suicide. By the movie’s halfway point, I deeply envied her. We learn about their life together through a couple hundred flashback scenes that are clearly meant to be gut-wrenching. In an ending that steals, er, borrows elements from The Sixth Sense, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and possibly Manos: The Hands of Fate, George gets her back. Or maybe not.

I wish I had more to say, but hey, I’ve already said more than Soderbergh managed in 9,000 feet of film.

Performances: George Clooney was himself, neither good nor bad, just there. As was his ass, which figured prominently in many scenes. Soderbergh wrote the screenplay, but I’ll leave it to you to draw the inescapable conclusion.

As Clooney’s wife, Natascha McElhone did a fine job showing off her DD implants. Don’t get too excited: they’re in her cheeks.

Jeremy Davies, the wimpy, conflicted guy from Saving Private Ryan, stretched his acting chops by playing a wimpy, conflicted guy with a beard.

Director Steven Clooney-Soderbergh obviously decided to team up with his favorite boy-toy, George, to make a movie that would cause us to look back on their Ocean’s Eleven collaboration with nostalgia. (It didn’t work.) In Solaris, Soderbergh demonstrates the maturity he is achieving at stealing other director’s techniques. He apparently filmed this movie after a sitting through a 2001: A Space Odyssey weekend marathon. (Another note to Soderbergh: weird music, dramatic cuts, and stark sets are not what made 2001 brilliant.)

In short, this was 99 minutes of excruciating, mind-numbing, narcoleptic-inducing agony. I thought A.I. would forever stand alone as the worst movie ever reviewed on this web site. I prayed for it in fact, offered sacrifices to the Gods of Celluloid that its equal would never slither from the demented bowels of Hollywood.

I was wrong.

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