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July 20, 2011

Movie Review: Heartbeeps (1981)

I've always had an interest in watching Andy Kaufman's only leading film role. I heard about Heartbeeps here and there, but I never came across it until good old Netflix put it up to stream. I just couldn't believe my luck, so it went right in my queue. On a day in which I already watched two good movies and two bad, it really stunk to tip the scales toward the negative.

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Heartbeeps screams 80s comedy from the first moment. The music, the bright colors and the wacky characters are all there. I will say that the robot make-up on Kaufman and Bernadette Peters was well done by Stan Winston. The two are products of a society that relies on robots, which is funny considering our attachment to smartphones and the Internet. They fall in love and decide to explore the outside world with a comedian robot named Catskills. He's loaded with bad jokes, and those seem to be the only jokes in the movie.

There's an attempt at humor in having our lead robots argue in a common couple way using robot technical language. I guess that might have looked funny on paper. It didn't translate well on screen. Kaufman basically used his Foreign Man voice minus the accent. Randy Quaid and Christopher Guest also have roles in the movie, but that really doesn't help. I just watched the whole thing with an agitated look on my face. I have a problem with comedies that aren't funny.

What sucked most is knowing that thanks to Lorne Michaels, Andy Kaufman thought that being on a sitcom was not respectable. That's terrible considering the fact that he was on one of the best ensemble sitcoms ever made and in one of the worst films ever made. If you want to watch this for curiosity or to complete your mental Andy Kaufman collection, it's out there. I say you should just do yourself a favor and skip it. You're not missing anything.

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