One of the best things about living in the future is all the cool technology. Flying cars, fast space travel and best of all – robot assistants. While in the present we have assistants like Siri or Alexa, they aren’t quite the robot butlers we’ve all envisioned. It’s hard to imagine Siri cooking you a meal, phones don’t make great cheesegraters.
That’s a problem that’s been solved by the year 2045 according to BigBug. Robots are everywhere, from serving food and drinks, maid duties, babysitting, brainteasers and… other things.
Welcome To The World Of Tomorrow
Bigbug wastes no time in introducing its cast and world. Alice (Elsa Zylberstein) is being visited by her boyfriend Max (Stephane De Groodt) and his son Leo (Helie Thonnat). Her ex-husband, Victor (Youssef Hajdi) and his new, younger fiance Jennifer (Claire Chust) drop off daughter Nina (Marysole Fertard). Nosy neighbour Francoise (Isabelle Nanty) also comes over, just as the militaristic Yonyx androids stage a coup and takeover. Looking to protect their masters, Alice’s household assistants – including Monique (Claude Perron), a maid/servant humanoid robot, and Einstein (Andre Dussolier), a brain-teasing bust of the famous scientist – lock them inside for safety. As the unhappy family try to escape, the robots wonder if they too can be human
Combining a robot uprising, with a sex comedy, as well as questions like “what does it mean to be human?” is a strange mix, to say the least. Less strange is the mixture of 1950s suburbia with futuristic technology. Anyone who’s a fan of the Fallout series of videogames will recognise the retro-future setting. This is a world where robot servants, make us drinks, clean the house and babysit our children. Temperature and the TV channel can be changed just by speaking to your house, and a giant floating billboard listens in to your conversations with helpful product suggestions.
The Perfect Nuclear Family
While the world outside seems interesting, we don’t see much of it, only glimpsing it through the TV screen (perhaps there’s a metaphor there). Instead, the focus is on the dysfunctional family trapped together. The key to a character-focused piece like this is the relationship between each character. While some of them are trying to establish relationships with each other, others are meeting for the first time. Alice and Max are constantly trying to slip away for some alone time, Victor and Jennifer are missing their wedding, and Nina and Leo are getting to know each other. Neighbour Francoise also has a paramour, her malfunctioning “exercise” robot.
As separate story strands, these all work rather well together and does lead to some funny moments. However, they don’t really interact with each other. The characters don’t really interact with each other outside of these pairings or as an ensemble. The sole exception is Francoise, who constantly ends up in the wrong room or inviting herself into a conversation. It’s odd that Nina never has a meaningful interaction with her mother for example, or even has an opinion on her new man. The film tries to juggle many different elements, but most of them feel underused. The robot’s struggle to become human suffers the most, with its conclusion feeling very disappointing and unearned. This is a shame, as the robots look excellent and have fun personalities.
While it has some wonderful robot designs and a kooky, interesting world, the characters that live in aren’t all that interesting. The film bounces from genre to genre but none of it really sticks and not all of it fits together particularly well. It’s an admirable attempt to tackle some big questions, but it often seems unfocused. It has some humorous moments, but it might have been better if it stuck to a few fewer plot threads or a few fewer characters. There’s fun to be found here and a great premise, but everything outside is much more interesting.
Rating: (3 / 5)