Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

In Superintelligence, Carol Peters (Melissa McCarthy) quits her job and rashly breaks up with her boyfriend George (Bobby Cannavale) to live a life of quiet nothingness in Seattle.

Hopper Stone/HBO Max / Crave

  • Superintelligence
  • Directed by Ben Falcone
  • Written by Steve Mallory
  • Starring Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale and James Corden
  • Classification PG; 110 minutes

rating

3 out of 4 stars


It is tempting to say Melissa McCarthy’s reign over the comedy landscape is nearing its end. Her last few big-screen comedies, 2018′s double shot of The Happytime Murders and Life of the Party, were duds. And her latest, this week’s Superintelligence, is skipping theatres altogether for the safer-from-scrutiny environs of HBO Max. (This isn’t due to some late-shifting pandemic strategy, either; the decision to go direct-to-streaming was made in October, 2019.) If the era of what I’m dubbing McCarthedy is indeed the case, oh well, at least the performer enjoyed a good run, and has a bright future ahead of her in the dramatic sphere, as Can You Ever Forgive Me? proved two years ago.

But, wait, scratch that. Despite all cynical assumptions to the contrary, Superintelligence arrives this week as a comedy with actual charm, wit and, yes, laughs. It is far from McCarthy’s high-tier trifecta of Bridesmaids, Spy and The Heat (all not-coincidentally directed by Paul Feig), but it works more often than it doesn’t. And in these cold winter months of 2020 when we could all use a reminder of the appeal of genuine star power, that is just enough.

Story continues below advertisement

Of the three types McCarthy usual plays – the wallflower (Life of the Party, Spy, Ghostbusters), the no-nonsense straight-shooter (St. Vincent, The Happytime Murders, This Is 40), and the raucous wildcard (Bridesmaids, Tammy, Identity Thief, The Heat, The Boss) – Superintelligence places her firmly in that first empathetic shy-but-kind territory.

Melissa McCarthy seems genuinely happy to be in the movie, and her enthusiasm infects the stellar supporting cast.

Hopper Stone/HBO Max / Crave

After quitting her executive-level job and rashly breaking up with her boyfriend George (Bobby Cannavale), McCarthy’s perfectly blandly named Carol Peters lives a life of quiet nothingness in Seattle. But then, as these things happen, an artificial superintelligence with the voice of James Corden targets her in an experiment determining whether the human race should live or die. Now, it’s up to Carol and the U.S. government (led by Jean Smart’s Hillary-esque president) to save the world, and maybe her relationship with George, too.

It is all, of course, ridiculous – but everyone involved has self-aware fun with the silliness, resulting in a fast-paced barrage of sharp gags. McCarthy seems genuinely happy to be here, and her enthusiasm infects the stellar supporting cast, which includes scene-stealers Brian Tyree Henry, Sam Richardson and, in one perfect cameo that’s already been spoiled by the trailer, Octavia Spencer.

And after making three of McCarthy’s worst films (Tammy, The Boss, Life of the Party), director Ben Falcone has finally found a way to balance his star’s (and real-life wife’s) intensely likeable energy with a bouncy, vibrant comic rhythm. May their marriage stay strong. And may McCarthy’s reign, on the big screen or small, continue.

Superintelligence is available to stream on Crave starting Nov. 26

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies