Saturday, May 30, 2015
CHERRY 2000 (1988) - Steve De Jarnatt
Cherry 2000 is another dystopian future movie I always wanted to see but kept on the backburner for unexplained reasons. It came out right around the time I had a serious Melanie Griffith crush thanks to Something Wild. You'd think that and the title alone would have earned it a post-adolescent rental. What was I waiting for? The year 2000? The actual apocalypse? I'm not sure, but I definitely missed out.
In a nutshell, future businessman Sam (David Andrews, kinda forgettable in a good way) short circuits his love-robot wife (or "gynoid") after a particularly spirited bout of soapy dishwasher sex. Problem is, Cherry 2000 is a rare model, not so easy to replace. Sam's heartbroken and tries normal dating with actual women, but apparently the singles scene in the year 2017 is worse than 2015. Women take their "sex lawyers" with them to bars (here, played by Laurence Fishburne). Men are required to sign contracts before even chatting them up. Also, both parties seem to be required to show video of their past performances on little bar monitors, evaluate each other's sexual skill sets. Sam hears rumors that spare parts for his broken beloved are in a lawless part of the wasteland called Zone 7. There, he hires a notoriously tough tracker, E. Johnson, to help him find a new Cherry and, wouldn't you know it, the tracker turns out to be a woman (Melanie Griffith). Wa-la, the post-apocalyptic rom-com is born!
Though the setting of Cherry 2000 is not quite post-nuclear and a Manic Panicked Melanie Griffith not the world's most believable tracker, this movie still has much to admire and many surprise cameo treats (Harry Carey, Jr, Ben Johnson, Brion James). Unlike, say, Radioactive Dreams, the humor in a decidedly non-humorous setting generally works. And the love story, though obvious, ("Will he fall for the real woman instead of the robot? WILL HE?!!") goes down smooth. Heck, post-nuclear or not, I can't fault any movie where a character's dinner is baked rattlesnake made in a repurposed toaster oven.