The qualities and difficulties of a dreamy German robot with a British accent.
If you’ve hated the false advertising of “Bicentennial Man” with Robin William or Garry Shandling’s motorized appendage in “What Planet Are You From,” then “I’m Your Man” makes up for those movies. It’s a German romantic comedy with a British lead like Dan Stevens as the robot of the woman’s dreams. In order to give his connection with a human female her memento, they have to meet in a music lounge with hologram attendees and drinks. He’s programmed to compliment and make his spouse happy. But the setup of “I’m Your Man” is that his spouse is an eeyore, who is given three weeks to observe him.
I knew the movie would be about a romantic android, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. The main heroine Alma (Maren Eggert) needs the money to fund her research about poetry being discovered in an ancient cuneiform. She could care less about his kind words and romantic vibe, because it’s all fake. Matter of fact when the robot named Tom offers her a romantic bath saying that “93% of women love these kinds of baths,” she responds: “what percentage am I in?” “7%,” he answers.
As part of the 3-week observation, she has to bring him to her apartment. And outside her apartment, she tells people Tom is her colleague from London. As expected in these types of romantic comedies, the cynical woman manages to see something special inside Tom. And as expected in an A.I. movie, he begins to feel more human. But’s it’s no thriller like “Ex Machina.”
And on the side, Alma also have to deal with with her therapist (Sandra Huller from “Toni Erdmann”), who seems too good to be true, her ex Julian (Hans Low), who has moved on with his life, and her ill father (Wolfgang Hubsch), who mind begins to deteriorate. I know what’s she’s going through, trust me.
“I’m Your Man” is filled with big laughs and a lot of insight over the two leads, who have their own perspectives on the meaning of life and love. Writer/director Maria Schrader (“Unorthodox”) and co-writer Jan Schomburg, who both based this film on Emma Braslavsky’s short story, allow these characters to be smart about their own realities. Alma knows the difference between a human and a robot, while Tom wants to prove to her that’s he’s more than meets the eye. And the performances from Stevens and Eggert are uniformly excellent and whimsical.
Sometimes the best comedies come from the foreign or independent cinema, as this movie was released in Bleecker Street. I just panned the Melissa McCarthy-starring Netflix dramedy “The Starling” for not even trying to be funny or affective, whereas “I’m Your Man” has a personal touch that distinguishes between comedy, drama, and romance.
Even if you miss out on a few things, you’re still amazed how Alma learns to accept her robot companion for who he is, instead of just an A.I. programmed to give her flowers and stylish dance moves. And it’s both comical and honest, as she worries she’s going crazy if she’ll fall for this guy.
And I know “What Planet Are You From” was an alien movie, but maybe Roger Ebert would have preferred Alma seeing Tom’s robot appendage than hearing Shandling’s. To her, it looks normal at the right size. To the audience, your guess is good as mine.
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