Like writer-director Lynn Hershman Leeson's terminally goofy CONCEIVING ADA (1999), this stylish but silly picture posits an atavistic bond between women and computers, somehow rooted in the mysteries of creation. Sometime in the near future, dowdy, overworked computer genius Dr. Rosetta Stone (ADA star Tilda Swinton) has used her own DNA to program three self-replicating automata named Ruby, Olive and Marin (all played by Swinton in various wigs), whom she hopes will help her with day-to-day programming drudgery. But the glamorous Sim-girls, who lounge around their color-coordinated virtual rooms in color-coded kimonos matched to their names and pointy fingernails, have other ideas. Seductive, raven-haired Ruby, the most actualized of the three, runs her own online sex site and regularly emerges into the real world to seduce men and collect their precious bodily essences, which nourish the vampirish sisters. Red-haired Marin steals Rosetta's credit card number to finance her online shopping sprees and has started to speak in code, while Olive, the one with the blond peekaboo hairdo, is the clingiest and most retiring of the three. Unfortunately, Ruby has been spreading a computer virus and her conquests are all find themselves impotent and marked by a barcode-shaped rash on their foreheads. One by one, they file into the same medical research facility where Rosetta works, and investigator RB (James Urbaniak) quickly realizes that she has something to do with the puzzling epidemic. But he can't figure out what, so he hires his old pal Dirty Dick (Karen Black) to nose around. Meanwhile, Marin and Olive have defied Rosetta's orders to stay in until the heat is off, and Ruby has fallen for with introverted copy shop clerk Sandy (Jeremy Davies), a devoted fan of her Web site who doesn't particularly care that she's not real. A new-media artist and professor of art at UC Davis, Leeson's sensibility is a thoroughly irritating mix of intellectual hauteur and juvenile smuttiness in fact, with more skin, the film would make great porn. Leeson has a great eye and her films are uniformly gorgeous, but she has a tin ear for dialogue and her grand ideas about artificial intelligence are self-consciously poetic without being especially original or provocative. The film's shortcomings notwithstanding, it's a must-see for Swinton fans, who can select a favorite among four different variations of their idol or simply adore them all.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: R
- Review: Like writer-director Lynn Hershman Leeson's terminally goofy CONCEIVING ADA (1999), this stylish but silly picture posits an atavistic bond between women and computers, somehow rooted in the mysteries of creation. Sometime in the near future, dowdy, overwo… (more)