'Her' is one of the best Science Fiction movies in a decade and one of Spike Jonze's most accessible films. Set in the not too distant future, Jonze adapts the classic Pygmalion trope and wraps it in the theme that technology creates an illusion of connectedness, buffering us from the real world. Joaquin Phoenix is Professor Henry Higgins to Scarlett Johansson's electronic Eliza Doolittle, and it is easy to forget that Phoenix's performance is predominately solo, never missing a beat while talking either to the ether, sundry video displays or the little electronic wallet equivalent of a smart phone. Jonze's future, though quirky and disconnected, is oddly Utopic - the skies of Los Angeles aren't the smoggy nightmares of Blade Runner, there's no evidence of overpopulation, poverty, political tyranny, or ecological calamity, and there is nary a zombie or vampire to be found. Jonze' future dystopia is in the people, who live insular, well-manicured lives. The profession of Phoenix's Theodore Twombly is symbolic of the dystopia, he is paid to write thoughtful, tear jerking letters for others to give to their significant others - no one in this world actually connects emotionally with each other, they do it by proxy. 'Her' has all the ingredients of a romantic comedy, exploring all the traditional pitfalls of building a relationship and it is easy to forget that the relationship is between a man and a machine. In fact, 'Her' is actually a pseudo horror story, which though resolved benignly, could have had a much darker, dire ending. 'Her' is brilliant, a must see full price ticket event, and a must BluRay purchase for your collection.
First time director Stiller tries to channel Spike Jonze, but instead of playing this film straight, opts to include odd, quirky SNL style skit humor. Had Stiller's Mitty reboot stayed true to the sentiment of the premise, Mitty Part Deux could have been a memorable cinematic achievement, but instead it is just a pedestrian reimagination of a greater work with beautiful cinematography and seamless special effects. Take a collection of Thurber stories, get a good night's rest, wait for this one to hit premium cable and call me in the morning.