Bicentennial Man (1999)

BICENTENNIAL MAN is the latest Robin Williams love-in, this one a 
world more tolerable than PATCH ADAMS, though with far fewer yuks 
than MRS. DOUBTFIRE.  Here, he plays a "household robot" delivered
to an upscale family in the "not too distant future."  The catch?  
"Andrew" has a manufacturing defect that causes such personality 
traits to surface as curiosity, creativity, and humor.  Of course, 
he's still a walking, talking tin-man-- complete with later WIZARD 
OF OZ reference-- but that changes in the second hour, after an 
"external physical upgrade."  Which means skin, courtesy of Oliver 
Platt's friendly robotics expert.  And which leaves him better-
looking than most of the *human* characters in the movie!  See, the 
story spans 200 years-- over four generations of the family that 
first purchases Andrew-- and that means *make-up*.  *Lots* of make-
up and lots of *obvious* make-up.  (No Oscar nod for you!)  Oh 
well, at least the lovely Embeth Davidtz gets a ton of screen time, 
playing both a grown daughter and the grown daughter's granddaugh-
ter.  The more-somber-than-anything-else story also takes some in-
triguing turns, here and there, as Andrew is both taught and exper-
iences what is meant by being human.  (He continues to get up-
grades, each one making him a little less pre-programmed.)  Regret-
tably, as it's a story told in two hours and change, some spans get 
grossly glossed over.  Like a later courtship that's over as soon 
as it begins.  Sigh...  Eh, for the few good laughs that *are* 
there, plus a non-sickly sweet romance, it's probably a Mork Holi-
day Hug worth recommending.  With Sam Neill, Wendy Crewson, and 
overexposed Pepsi pitchster Hallie Kate Eisenberg.  Chris Columbus 
directs from a script by Nicholas Kazan, adapting both the short 
story by Isaac Asimov and the novel "The Positronic Man" by Asimov 
and Robert Silverberg.  (Rated "PG"/131 min.)

Grade: B- 

Copyright 1999 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Bi

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros