Spike Jonze’s “Her”, a Classic New Hollywood Film.

Spike Jonze's "Her".

Spike Jonze’s “Her”.

Her, the new film from Spike Jonze stars Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams and Olivia Wilde, with music by the Arcade Fire. In other words, it’s indie royalty.

Phoenix plays a creative type in an office job who falls in love with his computer’s Operating System, voiced by Johansson, in a soon to be realised future Los Angeles. Adams is his best friend, and Wilde the skin and bones human that he tries to have a physical fling with.

Scarlett Johansson in Venice.

Scarlett Johansson in Venice.

It’s a charming, slightly offbeat and visibly clever rom com that’s thoroughly enjoyable and, not withstanding a lacklustre ending, wonderfully engaging. It’s genuinely romantic and often funny. And it really is great fun. But it’s wafer thin. You’ll need to give your brain the evening off and bid it engage elsewhere.

Jonze  directed Being John Malkovich (’99) and Adaptation (’02), both of which were scripted by Charlie Kaufman, and this is his first original script after his version of Where The Wild Things Are from 2009.

Watching Her, you get that same sense of gentle disappointment after the initial thrill that you got after watching his previous films, those of Wes Anderson and the better films of Sofia Coppola, to whom Jonze was briefly married.

Joaquin Phoenix an Olivia Wilde in "Her".

Joaquin Phoenix an Olivia Wilde in “Her”.

You leave the cinema with a smile on your face. But the further you walk, the less there was to think about. And it’s hard not to think of Gertrude Stein’s famous comment on California,

There’s no there, there.

It’s like watching a brilliant firework display. You’re dazzled by the flashes of light that illuminate the darkness. But you’re immediately left starring into the blank blackness wondering what it was that you’d seen up there, and feeling slightly ashamed at being so easily impressed by something of so little substance.

Her is great fun. But that’s all it is.

You can see the trailer here.

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