Movie Review: Her

herA most genius first hour squandered a bit for its remaining two acts, writer/director Spike Jonze’s Her (B) is an ambitious dramedy analyzing the bits and bytes of relationships. Joaquin Phoenix is superb as the lonely protagonist who falls in love with a coquettish computer operating system voiced by Scarlett Johannson. Although some similar themes were plumbed in Electric Dreams (oddly in 1984), Jonze makes a flimsy premise fresh and affecting. Setting this romance in an unspecified future gives the filmmakers some poignant portals to examine human rituals from a higher plane. The film soars most when the cyber siren summons the best in our hero, challenging him to experience the world anew. But there’s a point in which the audience has likely moved on, and Jones continues to belabor his themes. Woody Allen’s theory that comedies should clock in at no longer than 90 minutes would have been aptly applied here. A series of sequences bookended by snowfall could be edited out almost entirely, leaving a leaner and more consistently entertaining movie in its wake.