New Miscellaneous: Butter Dog
Reviewed on 2023 February 18
I was having a rather gloomy day — the snow and sense of isolation from COVID was wearing on me, since I still avoid larger crowds — and I decided to rent this off AppleTV. I am glad I did. I can imagine trying to enjoy this with a rowdy, noisy theater with people glued to their cell phones, and I was glad to enjoy it in the quiet of my home office, sipping a cold beer. Worth every penny.
Cady (Violet McGraw, doing a Herculean job) loses her parents in a horrible accident, and her Aunt Gemma (Allison Williams, doing an equally hard task of taking a driven, put-upon career woman and making her kind) takes her in. Gemma is working at Funki, a shiny ‘n’ chrome creator of the toys that kids ask for, and you’d think a “cool aunt” would be a slam dunk to raise a justifiably bitter and frightened little girl. She is not. Gemma is loving, determined…and as awkward as she is brilliant. She is working on the prototype of the ultimate toy, M3GAN (Jenna Davis as the deceptively smooth voice, and Amie McDonald as the doll). M3GAN, or Model 3 Generative Android, is something that is near and dear to her heart, and she sees that this robotic toy has a healing effect on her niece. Unfortunately, Gemma scored something of an own goal with M3GAN, who learns at a scary rate and starts thinking for herself without having a moral compass to ground her.
This is not scary at all and that’s OK, because it’s so shamelessly entertaining. It is creepy, since M3GAN is the Uncanny Valley poster creation, and it’s very darkly funny in places. I liked the pokes at an over-technified world, and the Blumhouse crew knew what they were doing when they had M3GAN start burbling Disney-esque songs. It’s also smart. I was expecting M3GAN to be a female incarnation of Chuckie, and it made me think more of a Silicon Valley Frankenstein. If we go back even further, maybe even Olympe from the Tales of Hoffmann.
Three chocolate morsels.