Superintelligence

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Superintelligence Movie Poster Image
McCarthy fans will like AI comedy with pratfalls, kissing.
  • PG
  • 2020
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Highlights how people are capable of empathy, compassion, gratitude, and selflessness. Also promotes how love makes people brave and protective, willing to put others' needs first. Cautionary tale about power of technology.

Positive Role Models

Carol shows the Superintelligence how people act when given all the resources they could ever imagine. George is sweet, attentive, and thoughtful.

Violence

Several pratfalls/tumbles, played for humor. The Superintelligence threatens Carol with the possibility of destruction of humanity, and for a while toward the end, it seems like that's what's going to happen. 

Sex

Several kissing scenes between Carol and George, including implied sex (the camera shows their silhouettes through closed blinds). Superintelligence encourages Carol to have a "romantic" and "intimate" night. Badunkadunk hookup website is discussed.

Language

"What the hell." "Badunkadunk" is used as a euphemism for sex in reference to a dating app specifically for hookups.

Consumerism

Several brands are visible and discussed: Tesla, Microsoft, Sony, The Fresh Market, Law & Order, Glad trash bags, BlackBerry, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink a special cocktail at a Mexican restaurant. Adults also look like they're drinking beer at a baseball game.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Superintelligence is a comedy about a sophisticated, all-powerful artificial intelligence (AI) system that chooses a perfectly "average" woman, Carol Peters (Melissa McCarthy), to test as an example of whether humanity should be saved, enslaved, or destroyed. The AI (which uses the voice of real-life comedian/talk show host James Corden) tasks her with reconciling with her ex-boyfriend, George (Bobby Cannavale), in order to prove that humans are capable of love and redemption. Iffy language is minimal ("what the hell," "Badunkadunk"), but there's some drinking and an implied love scene (silhouettes shown through closed blinds), as well as kissing. Expect lots of McCarthy's signature pratfalls and physical comedy -- other than that, violent/scary content consists of the AI's threat of mass destruction. Ultimately, though, the movie has themes of empathy, compassion, and gratitude.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byMariet33 November 26, 2020

It’s very mild

It’s not as bad as some reviews might say there is a single sex scene and it’s not graphic at all. Honestly the 10+ is very accurate.
Kid, 12 years old April 11, 2021

Funny Sci Fi film with some language

There is some language in this film like one S-t, Damn, Hell and the word Badunkadunk. Also one comedic sex scene. Also some violence like guns, punching and th... Continue reading

What's the story?

SUPERINTELLIGENCE follows Carol Peters (Melissa McCarthy), an out-of-work Seattle woman who spends her time volunteering for various charitable organizations. One morning the appliances in her home start speaking to her in the voice of her favorite celebrity, James Corden. He explains -- through her television, phone, rice cooker, toaster oven, etc. -- that he's an all-knowing, all-powerful artificial intelligence, a Superintelligence, who selected her as an example of a "normal" human. He wants her to help him decide whether to save, enslave, or destroy humanity: The test she must pass is getting back together with her ex-boyfriend, George (Bobby Cannavale), in three days. But George, as thrilled as he is to see Carol again, has imminent plans to move to Ireland. If Carol can't get him to stay, Superintelligence will punish all of humanity. Meanwhile, Carol tells her best friend, Dennis (Brian Tyree Henry), a coder for Microsoft, about the situation, and the government enlists him to help them draft a plan to stop the Superintelligence's dangerous plans. 

Is it any good?

McCarthy's charm and comedic gifts make this otherwise serviceable end-of-the-world comedy worth watching, but it works much better as an unconventional romcom than a compelling thriller. There's arguably more romance in Superintelligence than in most of McCarthy's comedies, and her scenes with the endearing Cannavale are sweet and natural (unsurprising, since the two are friends and former co-stars). Corden is a convincing pick as the AI voice (it picks the voice that will be most calming for each person). Other notable performers include Jean Smart, who's underused as the president of the United States, and director (and McCarthy's husband) Ben Falcone and Sam Richardson as slightly bumbling intelligence agents.

Despite the talented cast, the screenplay isn't exactly inspired, and the entire premise is underwhelming and confusing (not in the too-difficult-to-follow way, but in the "could this really be all the AI wants?" way). Sure, it's fun to watch Carol get a Pretty Woman-level makeover, since the AI immediately turns her into a multimillionaire with a new penthouse apartment, a self-driving Tesla, and a boutique wardrobe. But the heart comes from her reunion and reconnection with George, a "tall, tan, and tenured" professor who's headed to a Trinity College appointment. The movie's tone is uneven, as the potential for peril never feels immediate, and the political aspects are definitely underdeveloped and played for laughs. Still, for all its flaws, it's always a pleasure for fans to witness McCarthy's gift for physical comedy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Superintelligence is a twist on the genre of "end of the world" dramedies. How does this one compare? Which are your favorite?

  • Do you consider anyone a role model in the movie? If so, what character strengths do they exhibit?

  • What does the Superintelligence learn about humanity? What is the lesson about "ordinary" people making an extraordinary difference?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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