Cherry 2000 (1988)

Cherry 2000
Type Feature Film
MPAA Rating PG 13
Runtime 1hr 33mins.
Genres Action, Sci-Fi
Keywords N/A
Status Released
US Release Date
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Long determined to be taken seriously as an actress, Roberts has kissed a lot of frogs (wouldn't everyone like to forget "Mary Reilly"?) on the way to this satisfying triumph. As to director Soderbergh, who started with the justly celebrated "sex, lies, and videotape" and then went all over the place, his career has been no one-way rocket either. But two years ago, with the exceptional George Clooney-Jennifer Lopez vehicle "Out of Sight," he revealed an unlooked-for talent that's on display here as well. What Soderbergh can do as well as anyone is bring restraint, intelligence and subtlety to mainstream material, and what a difference that makes. To infuse an essential sense of unforced reality into stories that sound formulaic is to walk quite a fine line, and Soderbergh's gift for that, combined with Roberts' stardom, should finally supply the major box-office success that eluded him with "Out of Sight." Uniting that film and this one (and what hampered the clumsily written but well-directed one that came between them, "The Limey") is the presence of a strong and beautifully structured script. Writer Grant (helped by an uncredited polish from Richard LaGravenese) has presented strong women before in "Pocahontas" and "Ever After." But this script has more of a sense of life and it's especially adroit in placing believable and well-timed obstacles in the path of its inevitable resolution. In fact, given that the film's ad line ("She brought a small town to its feet and a huge company to its knees") effectively gives away the entire plot, it's amazing how much drama and pins-and-needles worry the film manages to wring from a foregone conclusion. Helping Soderbergh realize this script's potential are top-of-the-line people on both sides of the camera, including veteran independent film cinematographer Ed Lachman, five-time Oscar-nominated editor Anne V. Coates and costume designer Jeffrey Kurland, who has had enormous fun creating clothes for a character who is not afraid of a little exposure. For though her moral fiber couldn't be more spotless if she were played by Julie Andrews, Erin Brockovich does not dress like a saint. In fact, with her big hair, tiny miniskirts, 3-inch heels and an encyclopedic knowledge of the uses of cleavage, she looks more like a hooker than the character Roberts played in "Pretty Woman." Erin is also in the habit of speaking truth to power, of saying whatever comes into her mind to whoever's in her line of fire. "Twothings aggravate me," she claims in something of an understatement, "being ignored and being lied to." Roberts is especially adept at taking advantage of Erin's gift for devastating one-liners, none of which can be repeated in a family newspaper. One of the themes of "Erin Brockovich" is that appearances can be deceiving, so we know at once that Erin is a woman of sterling qualities. Yes, she's twice-divorced, $17,000 in debt with $74 in the bank, but Roberts' presence makes us implicitly believe it's only a matter of time until the world understands that under those skimpy clothes is a smart, hard-working, self-reliant woman just waiting to be gainfully employed. That employment was looking chancy until Erin came into contact with the majesty of the law as personified by Los Angeles attorney Ed Masry (Albert Finney). He represents her in a personal injury lawsuit that doesn't turn out well, and because Ed's the only potential employer she knows, Erin lays siege to his office until a barely entry-level job is forthcoming. Finney's role is largely that of Roberts' straight man, reacting with looks of horror at her unpredictable shenanigans. Still, the importance of Finney to the film's success shouldn't be underestimated. A well-schooled veteran, he brings integrity, stature and a sense of humor to the role of audience surrogate, never too blasé to be flummoxed by what Erin is up to. The other man in Erin's life is George ("In the Company of Men's" effective Aaron Eckhart), a motorcycle hunk with enough skin art to necessitate a credited Tattoo Designer. George not only lives next door to Erin, he's her masculine don't-trust-your-eyes mirror image, someone who under all that leather has the temperament of a caring nanny eager to watch her children while she attempts to save the world. Early on in her filing work at Ed Masry's office, Erin comes across some pro bono work he's doing involving residents of the Mojave Desert town of Hinkley. They're all getting sick and the mammoth PG&E corporation, the place's biggest employer, suspiciously claims to have nothing to do with it. Intrigued, Erin convinces Ed to let her look into the situation, and soon enough she is using her people skills and interest in science, not to mention her world-class flirting ability, to get at the heart of the problem and convince the townsfolk to let her and the lawyers do something about it. "Erin Brockovich" is helped, as was "Out of Sight," by excellent acting down to its smallest roles. Finely cast by Margery Simkin, the script was strong enough to attract talents like Cherry Jones and Marg Helgenberger to supporting but pivotal roles as townspeople and is obviously much the stronger for it. There are also a pair of amusing cameos, one by the real Erin Brockovich as a waitress who waits, in effect, on herself, and the other by producer Michael Shamberg, convincing as an untrustworthy corporate attorney. Though the publicity material huffs and puffs about Erin being a role model for the new millennium, in fact what's most exciting about this film is how old-fashioned it is at its core. It uses standard Hollywood building blocks like big stars and a Cinderella story line laced with laughter and tears and reminds us why they became standard in the first place. More than anything, it reminds us how much intelligent entertainment value there can be in traditional material, if only someone has the wit to realize it and the skill to get it out. MPAA rating: R, for language. Times guidelin es: Brockovich is a torrent of profanity. 'Erin Brockovich' Julia Roberts: Erin Brockovich Albert Finney: Ed Masry Aaron Eckhart: George Marg Helgenberger: Donna Jensen Cherry Jones: Pamela Duncan Peter Coyote: Kurt Potter Universal Pictures and Columbia Pictures present a Jersey Films production. Director Steven Soderbergh. Producers Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher. Written by Susannah Grant. Executive producers John Hardy, Carla Santos Shamberg. Cinematographer Ed Lachman. Editor Anne V. Coates. Production design Philip Messina. Music Thomas Newman. Costumes Jeffrey Kurland. Art director Christa Munro. Set decorator Kristen Toscano Messina. Running time: 2 hours, 11 minutes.

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Name Credit Credited as Role Id Sort Order
Melanie Griffith Actor E Johnson 1 1000001
David Andrews Actor Sam Treadwell 1 1000002
Pamela Gidley Actor Cherry 1 1000003
Tim Thomerson Actor Lester 1 1000004
Ben Johnson Actor Six Finger Jake 1 1000005
Brion James Actor Stacy 1 1000006
Harry Carey Actor Snappy Tom 1 1000007
Cameron Milzer Actor Ginger 1 1000008
Michael Gwynne Actor Slim 1 1000009
Jennifer Mayo Actor Randa 1 1000010
Marshall Bell Actor Bill 1 1000011
Jeff Levine Actor Marty 1 1000012
Howard Swaim Actor Skeet 1 1000013
Steve DeJarnatt Director n/a 2 2000001
Cotty Chubb Producer n/a 3 3000001
Edward Pressman Producer n/a 3 3000002
Elliott Schick Producer n/a 3 3000003
Lloyd Fonvielle Executive Producer n/a 174 3000004
Michael Almereyda Screenplay n/a 120778 4000001
Lloyd Fonvielle From Story n/a 120870 4000002
Elliott Schick Unit Production Manager n/a 182 5000001
Jerry Grandey Assistant Director n/a 163 5000002
Jacques Haitkin Director of Photography n/a 120780 6000001
Edward Abroms Editor n/a 172 7000001
Duwayne Dunham Editor n/a 172 7000002
David Lloyd Associate Editor n/a 479 7000003
Basil Poledouris Music n/a 120781 8000001
John Moore Production Designer n/a 164 9000001
Jane Jenkins Casting n/a 179 10000001
Julie Wass Costumes n/a 120828 13000001
Greg Cannom Special Makeup Effects n/a 120881 13000002
Jody Alexander Sound n/a 120816 14000001
Max Klevan Stunt Coordinator n/a 120804 19000001
Synopsis
In the near future, E. Johnson, a mercenary living in The Zone, a post-industrial desert wasteland, is contacted by a yuppie named Sam who is seeking help to replace his Cherry 2000 sex robot, which recently suffered internal meltdown. Together, they set out to find the replacement Cherry clones, which are stored in a warehouse ruled by a psychotic gang at the edge of the desert. Along the way, Sam learns what it's like to interact with a real woman who has brains and a heart instead of a microchip.