- Emma Simmonds
- 14 December 2020
Melissa McCarthy is directed by her husband Ben Falcone yet again in this likeable-enough sci-fi comedy
Featherlight farce meets end-of-days sci-fi in the bonkers yet charming latest from husband-wife team Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy. It's Falcone's fourth time directing his actress spouse and, though their efforts together haven't attracted great acclaim, Superintelligence at least is worth a shot.
When we meet McCarthy's Carol, she's drifting; having left behind a successful career in tech she's keen to apply herself to a worthier cause. Her friend Dennis (the excellent Brian Tyree Henry) is worried about her lack of direction, but such problems quickly become trivial when Carol is identified by a technological superintelligence as the ideal human specimen for study – being, as she is, so utterly average. Mimicking the voice of her favourite celeb James Corden (playing himself), it explains that it's trying to work out whether to kill, enslave or save humanity, and that Carol's actions will feed into that decision.
Informing her she may have mere days to live, the superintelligence spurs Carol into picking things up with her ex, George (Bobby Cannavale), a down-to-earth professor of creative writing, who is about to depart for his dream job in Ireland. Meanwhile, as the authorities get wind of this all-powerful AI's existence, there's a race against the clock to contain it.
For all its distractions, the film works best as a rom-com; McCarthy and Cannavale are a very cute couple and McCarthy, in particular, brings enough conviction to the film's few dramatic scenes to generate some touching moments in amongst the madness. The actress squeezes every last drop of quality from the shaky material (screenwriter Steve Mallory pens some good gags, but his story makes almost no sense), though those with a low threshold for James Corden may find the concept stressful. Superintelligence is as daft as a brush, dafter perhaps, but it's so darn nice it's hard not to like.
Available to watch in cinemas now.