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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