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Superintelligence: Melissa McCarthy and James Corden sci-fi romcom branded one of 2020’s worst films

Adam White
·2-min read
James Corden in the sci-fi romcom Superintelligence (Warner Bros/HBO Max)
James Corden in the sci-fi romcom Superintelligence (Warner Bros/HBO Max)

Superintelligence, a sci-fi romcom starring Melissa McCarthy and James Corden, has been dubbed one of the worst films of 2020.

In the film, an artificial intelligence identifies McCarthy’s character as the most average person on earth, and uses her as a test case to decide whether or not it should end the human race. To befriend McCarthy’s character, the artificial intelligence adopts the voice and personality of her favourite celebrity: the literal James Corden.

Bobby Cannavale also stars in the film as McCarthy’s ex-boyfriend, while Brian Tyree Henry plays her closest friend. McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone directed Superintelligence, marking the pair’s fourth collaboration as director and star following Tammy (2014), The Boss (2016) and Life of the Party (2018).

The film has been met with almost universally poor reviews, with IndieWire’s David Ehrlich calling it “one of the year’s worst”, and “a lifeless, laugh-free slab of nothing … [that] gasps for air for 105 minutes”.

Superintelligence is a regrettable waste of McCarthy’s talent,” wrote The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee, while CBR’s Josh Bell declared the film “clumsy and laugh-deficient”.

“In Superintelligence, an average human being must convince a sentient AI program not to wipe out humanity,” writes The Wrap’s Alonso Duralde. “Lucky for all of us, the film Superintelligence is not entered as evidence that our continued existence is justified.”

Others have said that the film has recruited a talented supporting cast, which also includes Watchmen’s Jean Smart as the US president, but gives them nothing to do.

“It feels like they’re standing around waiting for the movie to end, just like us,” wrote Christy Lemire for Roger Ebert.com, who adds: “McCarthy and Cannavale have all the romantic spark of two strangers standing in line for tickets to the Space Needle.”

The film’s insistent use of Corden, and repeated references to Corden’s career, have additionally been earmarked as a problem. The film includes an extended spoof of Corden’s Carpool Karaoke series, as well as characters conversing about his Tony Award win for comedy play One Man, Two Guvnors.

James Corden and Melissa McCarthy in SuperintelligenceWarner Bros/HBO Max
James Corden and Melissa McCarthy in SuperintelligenceWarner Bros/HBO Max

Superintelligence is weirdly committed to convincing its audience that James Corden is so great and likeable and funny, an argument that gets harder to believe as the film goes on,” writes SlashFilm’s Josh Spiegel. “Those who find Corden’s shtick exhausting and more than moderately obnoxious will find Superintelligence… well, exhausting and moderately obnoxious.”

Superintelligence is released in UK cinemas on 11 December.

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