“Robots” is a forgettable comedy that seems to yearn for when men got to be funny and women were meant to be seen and buzzkills.


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“Robots” is a forgettable comedy that seems to yearn for when men got to be funny and women were meant to be seen and buzzkills.

Director(s) Ant Hines, Casper Christensen
Screenplay By Ant Hines, Casper Christensen
Based On The Robot Who Looked Like Me By Robert Sheckley
Date Released (Video On Demand) May 19, 2023
Genre(s) Action, Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi
Film Length 1 Hour 32 Minutes
Content Rating Rated R
Noted Characters and Cast
Elaine Shailene Woodley
Charlie Jack Whitehall
Zach Paul Rust
Ashley Paul Jurewicz

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

Both Charlie and Elaine aren’t good people. Elaine uses men to have nice things and pawns some of it to pay her bills. Charlie purely dates women to have sex, and to add insult to injury, he is bad in bed. But, with both using dating to get what they want, they realize there is an easier way to get what they want in the year 2032: robots.

That is why, using a mutual connection, they both get robots of themselves to do the part neither enjoys. Elaine enjoys the dates, and the stuff she gets, while having Elaine 2 deal with having sex. Charlie has his Charlie 2 woo the women, so he can step in when it is time to have sex.

This works well for both until they encounter each other, as do their robots. For with it being illegal to have robot clones, it makes their Elaine 2 and Charlie 2 emancipating themselves a HUGE problem. Which, originally, Charlie and Elaine are led to believe can only be resolved with destroying their doppelgangers. However, as their robots show, they are not only scrappy but have a desire to take over the lives of the original Charlie and Elaine. Because of this, a back-and-forth begins, leaving you to wonder who might be forced to hide in Mexico, if not die.

Things To Note

Why Is “Robots” Rated R

  • Dialog: Cursing Throughout
  • Violence: Comical violence
  • Sexual Content: You will see Jack Whitehall’s butt multiple times and him damn near nude.
  • Miscellaneous: There is drinking

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Charles Cameron, aka Charlie

Charlie (Jack Whitehall)
“Charlie (Jack Whitehall),” Robots, directed by Ant Hines and Casper Christensen, 2023, (Neon)

After his last relationship ended, Charlie was a mess. He couldn’t focus at work and really committed to being an ass, if not became a worse version of himself. So, as luck would have it, he found a way to pay a man named Zach to duplicate him to do all the things he hates, whether it is going to work, dating, cooking, cleaning, or even shaving his nether regions.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Casey in “Clifford The Big Red Dog,” Alfie Wickers in “Bad Education,” and Sebastian in “The Afterparty.”

Elaine

It isn’t dove into what led Elaine to want a clone beyond disliking having a 9 to 5 job. From what we’re shown, she is scrappy and isn’t dainty whatsoever, but she does like nice things. Pocketbooks, for example, are her addiction, and she targets men who appear to have enough money to buy her things which allow her to maintain her lifestyle. All while not truly connecting with any of the men she dates emotionally, and especially physically – for that is what Elaine 2 is for.

Zach

Zach (Paul Rust) and Elaine 3 (Shailene Woodley)
“Zach (Paul Rust) and Elaine 3 (Shailene Woodley),” Robots, directed by Ant Hines and Casper Christensen, 2023, (Neon)

Zach is a Tesla engineer who used to work with Elaine and had a crush on her. Because of him, Charlie gets a Charles 2, and Elaine gets an Elaine 2. But, while Charlie paid money, Elaine negotiated a different price.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Gus Cruikshank in “Love”

Ashley

Ashley is Charlie’s only friend who lost his job due to automation and the rise of robots. This frustrates him immensely, especially since he was one of many who voted for expelling undocumented immigrants, only for robots to be created, leading to cheap labor now being done by beings who didn’t need to eat, sleep, or get paid.

Review

Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Highlights

Woodley and Whitehall’s Chemistry

What will keep you watching “Robots” is Woodley and Whitehall’s chemistry, whether it is their robotic versions who are deeply in love or their sarcastic back and forth as humans. Now, while neither will make you laugh out loud, it will push you to wonder, even hope, that maybe “Robots” is the type of film that needs time to get good. That maybe, as E2 and C2, the names for Elaine and Charlie’s robots, seem like they want vengeance and to take over their former owners’ lives, this could get interesting. Especially since they feel they are fully taking advantage of what it means to be alive compared to their former owners, who seemingly have become stunted due to laziness, insecurities, if not outright fear.

On The Fence

The Comedy

Ashley (Paul Jurewicz)
“Ashley (Paul Jurewicz),” Robots, directed by Ant Hines and Casper Christensen, 2023, (Neon)

“Robots” has silly comedy with a tinge of Republican-esque humor. How? Well, by using robots as a substitute for immigrants, if not outright slaves. To be clear, “Robots” isn’t full-on offensive and comparing robots to any specific group and beating any joke into the ground. More so, the joke is on people like Ashley who, in not understanding the economics of why immigrants are valuable, screw themselves over in the long run. But, the way this is conveyed isn’t funny, and none of the ways it tries to exploit stereotypes or tropes are.

Charlie being a privileged kid who is lazy and lacks skills isn’t made into something funny. Zach, this creepy engineer with an unhealthy obsession with Elaine, is dated. With him, you see the type of jokes that may go over well in the 1980s, but in modern times? The creepy nerd is just a creepy nerd, and no amount of hijinks or awkward moments can illicit the same laughs.

Which ultimately leaves “Robots” feeling like it is an ode to a cult classic, with a script barely touched and modern actors playing roles they don’t add much to.

Feeling Like They Held Back On Elaine’s Development

Elaine (Shailene Woodley)
“Elaine (Shailene Woodley),” Robots, directed by Ant Hines and Casper Christensen, 2023, (Neon)

While it is clear Elaine is meant to play the straight character, this backfires, for it leaves you asking questions. Why is Elaine someone who seemingly is very comfortable in the wilderness? What type of work did she do with Zach, and did she get there because of her education, job experience, or because men saw a pretty girl and, like Zach, figured the eye candy could become someone they could get close to, if not exploit?

The lack of answers regarding Elaine’s background takes away from the jokes she is supposed to be part of and often makes it feel that Woodley is more so exploited for being considered generally attractive than utilized because she is a good actor.

If You Like This Movie, We’d Recommend

Dual It features a similar setup of people creating duplicates of themselves for various reasons. But, in the “Dual” world, your duplicate can choose to fight for your life, leading to a sanctioned, public death match.
Title Card - Robots (2023)
Robots (2023) – Movie Review and Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
“Robots” is the kind of film that actors don’t promote or talk about, for they know it isn’t good but didn’t realize that until after they already committed to the project.
Highlights
Woodley and Whitehall’s Chemistry
Disputable
The Comedy
Feeling Like They Held Back On Elaine’s Development
75

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One Comment

  1. Even though Elaine’s backstory was underdeveloped, I disagree with your conclusion that Woods was hired to be an ”eye candy”, she’s a great actress afterall. Her character was shown through her actions (like in the cabin) and Woods’ good acting.

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