Friday, August 31, 2012

Frank & Robot: BFFs

The place: Cold Spring, N.Y.
The time: The not so distant future when technology is taking over the planet.

Frank (Frank Langella) has been divorced for 30 years, has memory issues, and lives in an ever-expanding mess. Now his son, an excellent James Marsden, makes him choose. Either he goes to an assisted living facility or he consents to share his life with one of the new health care workers.

Enter Robot. He's glossy white, has no name and speaks with the endearing voice of Peter Sarsgaard. Robot cooks and cleans for Frank. Indeed, everything he does adheres to his basic program. He's technically dedicated to Frank's physical and mental well being.

And that's where the fun begins. Robot lacks, not only emotions and reasoning powers, but also nuance and subtley and long-term thinking. What's good for Frank in the short run, may not work in the long run. But Robot doesn't grasp this.

Langella and Robot are a winning team, but the movie is also helped by the excellent supporting cast: Marsden, as Frank's son; Liv Tyler as his daughter; and Susan Sarandon, who's the last human employee at the library where books are being replaced by DVDs and she has a robot of her own, aptly named Mr. Darcy.

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