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The Sci-Fi Comedy Flop Defying Odds And Dominating HBO Max

It is very likely that in 2020 you've spent more time talking with your household AI than you've ever talked with them before. That's fine. Siri is very nice. Alexa is a sweetheart. Watch out for Google Home, though, as it gets a little salty if you turn the lights on and off too many times. The other thing you've likely been doing, over the course of the year, is streaming movies — maybe even just watching whatever it is that the mighty algorithm recommends. 

It turns out that there's a movie that's about both of those things at the same time. And while it wasn't a big hit with critics, a lot of people have been watching it anyway. The movie is called Superintelligence, it is on HBO Max right now, and there's a very good chance that you (or someone you know) has watched it.

According to Flixpatrol, Superintelligence has been blowing up in Spain since around Christmas, and it's been the fourth most watched movie on HBO Max in the United States since December 27, 2020. On the one hand, that's surprising because the movie originally dropped on November 26 to very little fanfare. On the other hand, a ton of people just logged into HBO Max for the first time to watch Wonder Woman 1984, so it makes sense that HBO's algorithm would recommend another woman-led science fiction film.

What exactly is Superintelligence, though?

An end of the world rom-com makes sense in 2020

Superintelligence is a romantic comedy set under the looming threat of an AI apocalypse. It's like Terminator, if Skynet was both orchestrating humanity's extinction while also trying to help two crazy, lovesick kids make it work. 

Also, the AI in question is played by host of The Late Late Show James Corden. There's a lot of stuff happening all at once. That translates to a lot of reasons why people are giving this underrated movie a chance.

Superintelligence stars Melissa McCarthy as Carol, an average woman whom a recently-sentient AI decides to use as a guinea pig to decide if humanity should persist or not. In addition to being a pretty bankable star, the movie also sees McCarthy re-teamed with two other creators she's worked with before: Ben Falcone (who serves as director) and Steve Mallory (who wrote Superintelligence). McCarthy, Falcone, and Mallory all worked together in the same capacity in the 2016 film The Boss, but they've all at least acted together in Tammy, Life of the Party, and The Happytime Murders. All of which is to say that, if you've watched those other movies, you are already inclined to watch Superintelligence.

There are a lot of great co-stars in the movie, too. Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man, Mr. Robot, The Irishman) plays Carol's love interest George. Jean Smart (Legion, Watchmen) plays the president. It's a solidly recognizable cast in general, before you even get to James Corden's super-intelligent AI — and as far as that goes, it is both deeply off-putting but also entirely right that the Carpool Karaoke guy would orchestrate a rom-com that decides the fate of humanity.

Superintelligence is cute, if a little by the numbers for a post-apocalyptic rom-com. And it seems like a lot of you already found it. If you haven't yet, it's streaming on HBO Max.