A robotics engineer at a toy company builds a life-like doll that begins to take on a life of its own.
THE GOOD STUFF
THE 4 LEADS– Amidst the many other things that this film has going in its favor are the four lead actresses in the film. Allison Williams has been underrated and underused for a very long time, and she brings a lot more class to a relatively silly character then perhaps there deserves to be. Violet McGraw is extremely good here, and her performance adds to what has been a year and a half of absolutely excellent lead performances by children in all types of genres.
Amie Donald, the actress who plays the physical form of Megan, is already a star on TikTok due to the viral sensation that is the bizzaro dance sequence that Megan has towards the end of the film, and deserves a lot of credit for embodying the physical form of the character. And Jenna Davis, who plays the voice of the robot in a varying amount of ways. Perhaps the character doesn’t work as well if the lines are being performed in the same way, but there is a clear distinction in personalities between how Megan is in the beginning of the film and how she is in the end. Great work here by all of them.
SELF-AWARENESS– Actors are often taught that the key to making a comedic scene funny is for the actor to play everything with a straight face and to treat the scene seriously. If the audience is aware of the absurdity of the situation, then your performance is seen as comedic even if you don’t feel that way.
This is a horror comedy. But not in the ways of something like Shaun of the Dead or army of darkness. There really aren’t a lot of jokes told here. There are a lot of scenes that are dramatic in their delivery. The actors are giving dramatic performances throughout the film, and this can be a little offsetting because even though these scenes are being played dramatically, there’s consistent absurd ridiculousness that the audience simply cannot ignore. (The dance sequence is a wonderful example of this)
…and because of this, I want to go as far as to say that this film is one of the funnier movies to come along in months. Seriously.
THE BAD STUFF
THE LAST 20– Not going to lie; the last 20 minutes of this film is really soft. I won’t go as far as to say that it ends with a whimper or anything like that, but Blum House films tend to try and go out with a bang. This was the exception. It’s not bad; it simply isn’t enough. Amidst all the good things this film does, this is the one thing that completely whiffed.
THE UGLY STUFF
PG-13– and that’s because this was originally intended to be rated R. At certain parts, you could tell that there was potential for some good old-fashioned R-rated horror, and it was sadly not to be. Considering how funny this movie was up until this point, and considering that the vast majority of the film isn’t really set up to be violent all like that, to have so many set pieces be put in front of your face for some good old fashioned R-rated killings, only to disappoint in the way that it kind reeks of studio interference and/or major rewrites. It might mean a few more dollars when it comes to the box office, and given that it is a January release, that might have been the smart move. But this is SO not a PG-13 movie. And you can just tell it’s not meant to be whatsoever.
Ultimately, your opinion of this film comes down to whether or not you believe that the film is self-aware (pardon the pun) of its own absurdity in the promotional material of the film. If you don’t, then it can come off as preachy about the nature of human beings to rely on technology to make themselves feel better. (Please read the review by the ever-so-talented Ricky J. Duarte. He covers this viewpoint as well as a couple of other things that are absolutely accurate about this film that are not covered here) However, if you are like me, and you saw that trailer, and you see it as a low-key comedy, then you will have a very fun time with this one.
M3GAN is in theaters now.