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2023 gets kicked off on the right robotic foot with the slyly satiric "M3GAN."
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I’m not gonna lie, my expectations were pretty low going into “M3GAN” (in theaters beginning Friday, Jan. 6). I saw and was entertained enough by the trailer, but wondered how in the Sam Hill this movie would work as a PG-13 offering. Not only is the PG-13 rating not a hindrance, I’d go so far as to say it’s an advantage. Then I saw the Rotten Tomatoes score (currently 96%) as reviews started trickling in yesterday and I got stoked. I initially figured “M3GAN” would be a two out of five star movie … spoiler! … it’s twice as good.
While traveling to a ski vacation the parents (Arlo Green, Natasha Kojic) of Cady (Violet McGraw – a good, little performer who gives a master class in sassy eating acting) get decimated by a snow plow. (This was sorta jarring after what happened to Jeremy Renner this week … get well soon, sir!).
After her parents deaths Cady goes to live with her Aunt Gemma (Allison Williams). Gemma is a career-minded young woman working as a roboticist for the toy company Funki. She toils alongside Tess (Jen Van Epps) and Cole (Brian Jordan Alvarez) to update Funki’s Furby-esque flagship toy at the behest of her butthole boss David (Ronny Chieng), who throws tablets like he’s Tom Brady.
Gemma has her directives, but she’s more inclined to throw her efforts behind M3GAN (Model 3 Generative Android), a lifelike doll programmed to be a kid’s best friend and a guardian’s greatest ally. Like a regular Tonia Stark, Gemma takes to her garage to complete M3GAN so she can gift this robotic gal pal to Cady. M3GAN (embodied by Amie Donald and voiced by Jenna Davis) and Cady get close quickly, which inevitably leads to horrific results and a sad demise for anyone who physically harms Cady or hurts her feelings at the minute mitts of M3GAN.
“M3GAN” as directed by Gerard Johnstone (“Housebound”) and written by Akela Cooper (“Malignant”) is a hoot and a half. It’s campy yet smart and funny yet scary. I’d argue it’s more of a social satire than an out-and-out horror flick. I kinda get the vibe that Cooper was inspired by Ed Neumeier’s scripts for Paul Verhoeven’s “RoboCop” and “Starship Troopers” with the prevalence of commercial parodies. “M3GAN” simultaneously pushes the boundaries of the PG-13 rating while also being tame enough to be a great gateway genre picture for tougher tweens. This will likely be a fixture of sleepovers for years to come and I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if M3GAN becomes a gay icon as she’s fabulous!
“M3GAN” is the best movie of 2023 … it’s also the only movie I’ve seen from 2023.