I've always been a big fan of anthropomorphized anything, so this was a hit with me as a kid. Plus, you know, Ally Sheedy, so I'm relatively hopeful about this one. Please don't suck, Short Circuit!
1. Nova Robotics has gathered an audience to show off their weaponized robots. One has glowing red eyes and blows up trucks. Another has Stephen Hawking’s exact voice (which equals super-smart, obviously). Another one makes cocktails. One of these robots is definitely being under-utilized.
2. Ben is a white guy in brown face (Fisher Stevens) who's putting on the most offensive Indian accent I’ve ever heard in my life. Jesus Christ, I hope someone apologized for this:
3. Crosby (Steve Guttenberg) is very smugly making a robot arm play piano. His lab has an unnecessary tint of pink neon to it that has been put there to let us know he is Not A Bad Robot-Bombmaker.
4. The army brass is talking about dropping the bomb robots into Russia to blow up “main street.” This doesn't actually matter, I just need to make a mental note to re-watch Red Dawn.
5. There’s a thunderstorm, and wouldn’t you freakin’ know it? Robot Number 5 gets hit by lightning. Which looks like this:
6. “Originally, I had non-military purposes in mind,” Crosby says about the robots. “I designed it as a marital aid.” Wait. So... these are sex robots? He just said "marital aid" with a totally straight face. What other kind of marital aids are there?
**Thinks hard for a full two minutes**
So these are SEX ROBOTS WITH BOMBS IN THEM?! I mean, I guess it would reduce divorce rates on account of all the killing, but... dude. What were you trying to invent, Steve Guttenberg?
7. A robot with a girl voice just rode past electrocuted Number 5. We know it’s a girl robot because it has round globes on its front side, a wire at the rear that wiggles when it moves, and its only function is to SERVE COFFEE. Not even lady robots can escape the patriarchy. Kill me.
8. While chasing the lady robot (heteronormative circuitry, much?), Number 5 ends up on the back of a trash truck. We know the lightning has made him alive because he now has a raging libido.
9. This whole Brown Face situation is killing me.
10. That guy who’s the bad guy in Mannequin and Police Academy (GW Bailey) is also the bad guy in this. I genuinely wonder if he ever got sick of playing the same guy in every single movie he was ever in. Poor guy.
11. “Whatever it takes to put that stupid contraption out of commission, gentlemen, that’s what you do.” This is literally the opposite of what a military guy would do with an $11 million robot-weapon, but K.
12. Number 5 gets thrown off the side of a bridge by a pursuing tank. He opens his parachute, which conveniently and magically moves him miles away from the river that was just directly beneath him. Then he lands on top of a food truck owned by Stephanie (Ally Sheedy).
13. Stephanie’s ex-boyfriend is trying to steal her dog, Beasley, to sell him to a medical research lab. She shouts “This is my home! This is not your home! I live here!” which might be some of the worst scriptwriting I've heard since I last watched The Room.
14. Stephanie beats her ex's car with a baseball bat and he runs away. Stephanie hand feeds a raccoon on her deck and her neighbor tells her “men from the city” are going to clear out her home because she’s using it as an animal shelter. I've never cared so little about a scene with a raccoon in it before.
15. Stephanie discovers Number 5 in her food truck. “Well, I guess… Welcome to my planet! Don’t be scared. I’m a friend.” Stephanie is the only living human in 1986 who doesn't know what robots look like.
16. Stephanie takes 5 inside and shows him all of her pets. “These are animals. They’re lower life forms.” Um. Excuse me, Short Circuit, but a woman living with a raccoon, at least 6 cats, a skunk, a ferret, some goldfish and an ant farm would never in a million years say this.
17. Number 5 reads an entire encyclopedia in 20 seconds and keeps screaming “More input!” Then he smashes up Stephanie's house. Number 5 fully reminds me of that cokehead at the party who’s run out of blow and doesn't want to go home yet.
18. Crosby asks Brownface. “Where are you from originally?” Brownface: “Bakersfield.”
Crosby: “No, your ancestors.” Brownface: “Pittsburgh.” So Brownface has a broad Indian accent because it’s GENETIC and Crosby just asked that question that all American people of color DESPISE being asked.
I hope whoever wrote and cast this thing prays for forgiveness every single day.
19. Stephanie sees a plate on 5’s side. “You’re a machine from that war lab place! You’re a robot!” Holy shit, Stephanie is so dumb.
20. Stephanie calls Nova to come and get Number 5, then tells 5 they’re coming to fix him. Then 5 accidentally crushes a grasshopper while playing with it and flips out when Stephanie can’t put the insect back together. Having grasped the fragility of life, he hops in her truck and goes on the run. I think this might be the 1980s equivalent of Of Mice and Men and it is an indictment of our times.
21. Number 5 announces he is scared of Nova because they will disassemble him. He shouts “Number 5 is alive!” and "No disassemble!" a lot. Not to be unsympathetic, but please shut the fuck up, Number 5. You're way too nasal for this.
22. Brownface and Crosby arrive with Number 1 to help retrieve Number 5. Then the army arrives and for reasons that are entirely unexplained, open fire on the robot even though he is in close proximity to three humans, two of which are employed by the same company as the soldiers are. Number 5 responds by blowing up some shit, while Stephanie cheers and Brownface prays. Brown people love religion, you see.
23. Crosby turns 5 off, so the army men stop shooting at them. (Wouldn't it have been easier to just ask him to do that before all the shooting?) Brownface leaves with Number 5 and a driver and bids Stephanie “Namaste” because OF COURSE HE FUCKING DOES.
24. 5 somehow wakes himself up in the back of the Nova truck. Brownface and the driver get scared of 5 and run away, so 5 steals the truck and ditches his tracking device. Then this song plays for the second time in this movie and I cannot shitting believe Ally Sheedy agreed to be in this video. (They couldn't even get the real GW Bailey, and Steve Guttenberg is played by a piece of cardboard!)
25. Number 5 goes back to Stephanie’s house and walks in on her in the bath. “Stephanie change color! Nice software! Ooooh!" he coos like a massive robot rapist.
“You sure don’t talk like a robot…” Stephanie says to 5.
Because, truly, you're not really alive until you've objectified a woman who never asked to be naked in front of you.
26. Stephanie’s dirtbag ex greets Number 5 with: “How, robot! Me friend.” Stephanie replies: “Talk robot, not Apache.”
Wait. WHAT?! Fucking WHAT?!!
27. Brownface, talking about Stephanie: “I’m thinking she’s a virgin. Or at least she used to be.”
This is a line that occurs with absolutely no justifiable context. I am not often speechless, but I am speechless.
28. “Life is not a malfunction,” Stephanie tells Crosby.
Short Circuit is deep. Or anti-abortion. One or the other.
29. The other robots have located Number 5 and are trying to capture him. Number 5 responds by shouting at Number 2: “Hey laser lips! Your mama was a snowblower!”
Despite 5's incredible lack of self-awareness (wasn't your mama also a snowblower?), this is hands down, the best line in the movie.
30. Number 5 reprograms all of the other robots to be nice, then goes to Crosby and kidnaps him to demonstrate how alive he is. “Life is not malfunction,” 5 says, in case we missed Stephanie saying it 2 minutes ago. The scriptwriters definitely didn't want to just throw that line away by using it only once, like a pro-choice movie would have!
31. Number 5, Crosby and Stephanie go camping on an embarrassing old set from Star Trek. I mean...
32. It takes about a million years for Crosby to believe Number 5 is alive. Then military dudes arrive, grab Stephanie and Crosby while 5 hides in the truck, then 5 makes a run for it while a helicopter throws explosives at him. Horrifyingly, one of them hits and NUMBER 5 EXPLODES INTO TINY PIECES. I did not see this coming. I bet A LOT of children cried when they first saw this.
33. As Crosby and Stephanie drive away all bummed out, Number 5 pops up in the back of the truck. The other exploded robot was a decoy he built! Even though there was only about 30 seconds for him to manage this feat of engineering! Brilliant!
34. Crosby quits Nova and decides on the spot to move himself, Stephanie and Number 5 up to a farm in Montana with all of Stephanie’s animals. Dude. You guys kissed ONCE, like 3 hours ago, and now you’re moving in together? I'm sure that's gonna work out GREAT.