Set in the future, a successful romance novelist, Gillian (Kathryn Harrold), finishes up her virtual book tour in which she promotes her latest novel (which are now on CDs that are read via a tablet PC) on a holographic talk show (hosted by Earl Boen). After arriving home to find her man Alan (an unfamous Bryan Cranston) in the sack with a girl half her age, she decides that a retro-retreat is in order at a 20th Century mountain cabin. Presumably this choice of location is all about the isolated atmosphere condusive to the plot and not at all related to the fact that this will save the production quite a bit of money that would have had to have been spent on more blue fluorescent lighting. Remember, this is the future! Blue fluorescent lights are the future.
Soon the bloom is off the vine and Gillian becomes dissatisfied with the way her new companion, whom she has named Geoffrey (the prolific Bruce Greenwood). She has decided that he acts too robotic and subservient. After fumbling through the manual (in the future instruction books are still made of paper and women still can't understand them), Gillian manages to re-program the "personality" setting from zero to 100% and even splurges for the "slang" option. Instead of this, as you might suspect, turning him into a nasty stereotype, such as a womanizing lounge lizard or a white rapper, it turns him into a good stereotype. A yuppie. You know a "normal" man who all women would love. Soon Gillian is not content with just using him to blot her tears and save her from falling off cliffs and ups his "sexual" programming from zero to 30%. It appears that 30% is good for back rubs and kissing, which apparently is good enough to get Gillian to crank it up to 100%. Instead of turning him into a slim, hairless Ron Jeremy, it turns him into an emotional yuppie who delivers some very slow, gentle missionary position lovemaking accompanied by soft violins. I guess when you are stuck in a desert even tap-water tastes pretty good.
|Worst "morning after" ever.|
Aside from the completely uninteresting Bruce Greenwood who appears to be trying to emulate Brent Spiner, the solid cast keeps the film from becoming too tedious, but is content to waste great actors such as Tracey Walter who shows up briefly as the owner of the local "retro" convenience store and doesn't have a single line. I couldn't help but imagine how inspired the movie would have been with someone like, say Wings Hauser in the role of Geoffrey. He could have carried the film to cult status, playing both sides of Geoffrey's personality with conviction and flair. Granted THE COMPANION is much more successful in creating a science-feeling movie than say, RUNNING DELILAH (1992), but that isn't really saying much and in the end it still feels like a schizophrenic hodge-podge that is trying to appeal to a bizarrely small demographic that loves Oprah, "Star Trek", BLADE RUNNER and THE TERMINATOR and is looking for a romantic drama with bits of thriller and cyborg thrown in. I guess you know who you are.