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Short Circuit (1986)

[Short Circuit] Short Circuit
PSO, 1986
Rated: PG
Running Time: 98 minutes
Director: John Badham
Producers: Gregg Champion, David Foster, & Lawrence Turman
Amazon.com: NTSC DVD, NTSC VHS
Amazon.ca: NTSC DVD
Amazon.co.uk: PAL DVD, PAL VHS
Recommended by: Greg Slade

Short Circuit is what I refer to as a "fluffy comedy." It's light, it's cuddly, but you don't expect too much of it. The premise is based on a science fictional premise: an artificially intelligent robot gains true consciousness, and rebels against its makers' plans to use it as a weapon. But essentially, the robot functions as a means of looking at modern society from the outside. (In the grand tradition of science fiction comedies such as My Favorite Martian and Mork & Mindy.) There are lots of laughs (not all of them politically correct), and some great lines, such as a chant recited by Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenberg's character) that computers "don't get happy, don't get sad, they just run programs." One of my favourite lines is when Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy's character) asks Crosby "Are all geniuses as stupid as you?"

But I see a deeper meaning behind all the silliness. There are a couple of obscure allusions to God in the beginning of the film, just before "Number 5" comes "alive." And then, when Crosby asks Number 5 why he wouldn't act as a weapon according to his program, he responds that it's wrong to kill and asks, "Newton Crosby, Ph.D., not know this?" Then Crosby responds, "Of course I know it, but who told you?" To which Number 5 replies, "I told me!" As I watched that scene, with all its tenderness and laughter, I was strongly reminded of Romans 2:14, 15. Truly God has written His law upon people's hearts. (And, of course, God is the source of all life.) That's not to say that Short Circuit is a tract on morality in the guise of a "fluffy comedy." But I do see more depth to it than I expected.

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