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Something wonderful has happened - Number Five is alive! Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy co-star in this high tech comedy adventure about Number Five, a robot who escapes into the real world after he short circuits in an electrical storm and decides that he's human. Because he's carrying destructive weapons, the Defense Department and his designer (Guttenberg) are desperate to find him. But Number Five is being protected by a young woman (Sheedy) who is teaching him a gentler way of life.
When a laser-armed Department of Defense robot named Number 5 gets zapped by a lightning bolt, he "malfunctions" and starts spouting peace slogans and developing a human-like consciousness. Naturally, the newly pacifist machine wants out of the military and escapes. As a frantic search for the creature begins, Number 5 settles down in his new home, with a gentle young woman named Stephanie (Ally Sheedy), who has every intention of holding on to her find, teaching Number 5 about popular culture and other mysteries of life. Thoroughly convinced that the robot is alive, she develops a strong bond with the creature. In order to prevent his capture by the military--who view Number 5 as an armed-and-dangerous weapon--the pair must convince his inventor, a reclusive scientist named Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenberg), that he is truly alive and more than just a metal machine. The highly innovative robot created for director John Badham's film brings to mind other lovable science fiction icons such as E.T. and R2D2 from STAR WARS.
A top secret government project with laser-armed robots goes awry when a bolt of lightning zaps Robot Number 5 and brings it to life. Not wanting to be a military mobile weapon, Number 5 escapes and the adventure begins. He soon meets a gentle young woman (Ally Sheedy) who recognizes his human-like abilities and personality, and crusades for his protection against government agents who see Number 5 only as a threat.
"I am thinking she is a virgin. Or at least she used to be."--Ben (Fisher Stevens) to Newton (Steve Guttenberg), about Stephanie (Ally Sheedy)
"Number Five is alive!"--Number 5
New York Times
"...The clean, well-scrubbed look of an old Disney movie....Amiable..." 05/09/1986 p.C6
"...Clever, funny and fresh....[Featuring] some terrific dialog..." 05/07/1986
Director John Badham re-explores some of the themes that his earlier hit Wargames contained in Short Circuit, a lightweight but enjoyable comedy thriller about a robot. I seem to have been through a spate of watching John Badham films recently, for no known reason, but there you go...Personally I would have liked more comedy and less sugary sentiment in the film, and it's definitely one that is aimed squarely at younger children. An example of this is the irritating robot voice (yet again!! Why oh why must robots or computers in these films always have annoying voices?!?) -- voiced on this occasion by --Tim Blaney -- and the over-use of slapstick comedy. There were still quite a few amusing or touching moments in the film, so I'd still recommend seeing it, but you do have to be in the mood for it. The special effects are quite impressive in that they don't look terrible today, and some of the scenes with the robot are quite fun. I think virtually every adult who watches this will work out the twist ending in about... oh... five seconds. Maybe the young kiddies will still be on the edge of their seats though. They'll certainly enjoy it more than you will as well, though some of the humour in the dialogue will be lost on them.
DVD, Special Edition
Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum
Goofy 80's fun. Wanna-be E.T. actually delivers the goods.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
Very entertaining sci-fi drama about the adventures of an escaped robot on the loose.