Bicentennial Man (1999)

Genres - Comedy, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Domestic Comedy, Sci-Fi Comedy  |   Release Date - Dec 17, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 130 min.  |   Countries - Germany , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Karl Williams

An intriguing science fiction premise is hamstrung by the sugarcoated sensibilities of its director in this big-budget, futuristic comedy-drama. Robin Williams labors with real effort to bring his metal-plated role to life, but his Andrew is rather too warm-hearted for a machine that only slowly develops a soul; the robotic character is simply too funny and spirited from the get-go to make his eventual transformation a believable journey. Some major characters die, and serious issues such as slavery and emotional and physical dependency are raised, but it's all seen through the gauzy, candy-corn lens of director Chris Columbus, whose broad, pop tastes take all the edge and sting out of the material. Gone are the thought-provoking ideas and philosophies examined by the story's original creator, Isaac Asimov; all that's left is an empty shell. Bicentennial Man wants more than anything to be a sci-fi Forrest Gump (1994), but it's more of a flop on the order of a modern-day Heartbeeps (1981).