Robosapien (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/05/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

Despite a handful of flaws, Robosapien is a likeable, fast-paced and pleasingly old-fashioned children's adventure enlivened by decent special effects and an engaging performance from young Bobby Coleman.

What's it all about?
Directed by Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer) and loosely based on the robotic toy produced by Wow Wee, Robosapien (also known as Cody, the Robosapien) stars Bobby Coleman as science whizz Henry, a lonely, bullied kid who finds and repairs a talking robot, which he names Cody (Jae Head) and introduces to his family, single mother Joanna (Penelope Ann Miller) and older sister Meagan (Holliston Coleman, Bobby's real-life older sister). However, unbeknownst to Henry, Cody is the creation of Allan (David Eigenberg, aka Sex and the City's Steve), who sent Cody (or Robosapien, as he calls him) on the run when it transpired that the corporation who funded the Robosapien's creation intended to use him as a weapon rather than a search and rescue robot. And when Allan finds Cody, he warns Henry that the corporation won't be far behind.

The Good
Robosapien is a pleasingly old-fashioned children's adventure that could have been made in the 1980s; essentially it's like a junior version of Short Circuit. Aimed squarely and unashamedly at a younger audience, the film gets by on a combination of pacey direction, decent special effects (although the human/robot interactions are a little clumsy) and a winning performance from young Bobby Coleman. There's also strong support from David Eigeman, while Kim Coates is good value as the corporation's hissable villain, Porter.

The film is chock-full of clichés, but there's nothing wrong with clichés per se, providing they're marshalled correctly and Robosapien nails both its comedy set pieces (Henry trying to ask the girl he likes to a dance, prompted by an unseen Cody) and its important emotional moments; even the most hardened adult might find themselves with something in their eye during the later scenes between Henry, Allan and Cody.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is the robot's voice. For some reason, the filmmakers have eschewed the obvious comedy robot voice route and opted to give Cody an American child's voice, which is distracting and occasionally irritating, not least because it sounds very similar to Henry's voice. On top of that, the film is a little too fond of scenes of Cody break-dancing; there are several of them and they seem to go on forever.

Worth seeing?
Robosapien is a likeable, engaging and fast-moving children's adventure that should prove a hit with its target audience, while dragged-along adults will find very little to complain about. Worth seeing, particularly if you're aged between five and nine.

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Content updated: 23/10/2017 16:12

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