Okay, so this one is kind of weird.
Remember how, a few nights ago, I watched and reviewed something called Prison Planet? No? Well, I don’t blame you. I wish I could forget about it too. Anyway, the movie that aired right before Prison Planet was yet another futuristic tale that was largely set in a desert wasteland. This movie was originally released in 1988 and the title was Cherry 2000.
Cherry 2000 takes place in 2017, or perhaps I should say that it takes place in 2017 as imagined by someone in 1988. In this film’s version of 2017, both the economy and the environment are a mess, America is divided into warring urban and rural zones, and all human emotion and creativity is being stifled by government bureaucracy. In short, Cherry 2000‘s version of 2017 is a lot like the real world’s version of 2017…
In the future, everyone’s still obsessed with getting laid but all of the bureaucratic red tape has made things difficult. Having sex now means first getting a lawyer to draw up a contract. In order to avoid all of the legal complications, men are now marrying specially designed sex robots. Again, this probably seemed way out there in 1988 but, in the current world, it just looks like my twitter timeline.
(Do they have sex robots for women in the world of Cherry 2000? As far as I could tell, all of the sex robots in the film were designed for men’s pleasure, which doesn’t seem quite fair.)
Anyway, Sam Treadwell (David Andrews) is a business executive who thinks that he is deeply in love with his robot wife, Cherry 2000 (Pamela Gidley). However, a mix of sex and a broken washing machine causes Cherry to short-circuit. When Sam tries to get her repaired, he’s told that it’s a lost cause. Cherry is beyond repair. Add to that, apparently the Cherry 2000 model is no longer being manufactured. If Sam wants a new Cherry, he’s going to have to go into Zone 7 and get one out of an abandoned factory.
So, of course, that’s what Sam does. The only problem is that Sam is a business guy and Zone 7 is the most dangerous place in the world. Why is it so dangerous? Because it’s ruled by a warlord named …. Lester. (No offense meant to anyone named Lester but that’s not exactly the most intimidating name in the world.) Lester is played by B-movie mainstay Tim Thomerson, who appears to be having fun whenever he appears on-screen.
To help guide him through Zone 7, Sam hires E (Melanie Griffith). E is the film’s saving grace, largely because she kicks everyone’s ass. The great thing about E is that, from the minute she first appears, she makes no secret of the fact that she finds Sam and his sex robot to be just as pathetic and ridiculous as we do. Griffith plays the role with just the right mix of humor and annoyance. If I ever have to guide anyone through a desert wasteland to a sex robot factory, I hope that I can do it with half as much style and panache as E.
Anyway, Cherry 2000 is a weird little mix of the western and science fiction genres. For a film about sex robots, it actually has a rather goofy and almost innocent feel to it. It’s a film that raises a lot of issues but which is also smart enough not to spend too much time on any of them. Director Steve De Jarnatt also directed one of my favorite 80s movies, the charming apocalyptic love story Miracle Mile. Cherry 2000 may be a mess but it’s definitely a watchable mess.