Film (1987). Orion. Directed by Susan Seidelman. Written by Floyd Byars, Laurie Frank. Cast includes Ann Magnuson and John Malkovich. 98 minutes. Colour.
The cold, rational, shy Scientist played by Malkovich has designed, in his own image, Ulysses the Android (actually in part a Robot), also played by Malkovich, for use as a space pilot. Public-relations expert Frankie (Magnuson), whose love affair with an "unreconstructed" politician is coming to an end, has the task of "humanizing" Ulysses's image. The fluffy, screwball Sex comedy that follows makes well-observed satirical points, from a Feminist perspective, about the men women want and to some extent create. Ulysses, who rapidly evolves into a kind of parodic, sensitive "new man", and Frankie fall in love. His tendency to short-circuit whenever sexually aroused suggests a pessimistic view of women's chance of happiness, even if they've helped design Mr Right themselves. The film was nothing like as popular as Seidelman's previous Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), being too offbeat (and lacking Madonna), but is just as good. [PN]
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