Australian Council on Children and the Media

Superintelligence

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Not suitable under 10; parental guidance to 12 (themes, sexual references and lack of interest for younger viewers)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Superintelligence
  • a review of Superintelligence completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 December 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not suitable due to themes, sexual references and lack of interest for younger viewers.
Children aged 10–12 Parental guidance recommended due to themes, sexual references and lack of interest for younger viewers.
Children over the age of 12 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Superintelligence
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, sexual references and coarse language
Length 106 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Carol Peters (Melissa McCarthy) is an unemployed, average woman who has separated from her partner, George (Bobby Cannavale). Carol's life is drastically changed one day, when an all-powerful, all-knowing, super intelligence (voice of James Cordon) enters her life. The AI suddenly fills Carol's life with wealth in the form of a penthouse apartment, a Tesla car, a great job and money in the bank. The AI is determined to reunite Carol with George, however, its main task is to determine whether humanity is worth saving. The AI tells Carol that she has three days to prove to him whether humanity should be saved, enslaved or destroyed. This sets Carol on a frantic path to try to get back together with George. She soon discovers that she is also being watched by the American Secret Services and has to make decisions which will affect the outcome of life on Earth.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Artificial Intelligence; Spies.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Carol smashes her toaster with a bat.
  • A car crash occurs in front of Carol's home but no-one is injured.
  • A man is seen crashing his bike and falling off but not hurt.
  • Carol is kidnapped by the Secret Services and has a black hood placed over her head. She is physically forced into a van while struggling to escape.
  • The AI fills a room with gas and threatens to blow everyone up.
  • Carol falls out of a car and lands flat on her face.
  • Carol is kidnapped again and kicks the agent in the chest.
  • The AI says that humanity will destroy humanity and plays a video showing rioting, an atom bomb exploding and the world on fire.
  • Carol snatches a phone from a passer-by.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images are likely to scare or disturb children in this age group.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images may scare or disturb children in this age group.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Some younger children in this age group might be disturbed by an outside force entering all of your electronic devices and taking over your life.
  • Carol's friend Dennis was made fun of as a child due to a stutter.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Candy Panda
  • Microsoft
  • Tesla
  • Blackberry.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • The AI says to Carol, “judging by the history of your lovemaking …”.
  • The AI asks whether dates usually lead to more intimacy than what occurred with Carol and George.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • George and Carol kiss. They are seen (watched by the secret service) through blinds, tearing each other’s clothes off. Sex is presumed but not shown.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Drinking wine on several occasions.
  • Carol drinks wine out of a bottle.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Frequent use of, “Oh my God”
  • Shit
  • Shove it
  • Damn
  • What the Hell
  • Bitch
  • Sods
  • Name calling such as:
    • Nerd
    • You're basic
    • Idiots
    • Nob-heads.

In a nutshell

Superintelligence is a romantic comedy/spy movie which is quite funny and entertaining. There are the usual slapstick scenes done for a laugh and the plot isn't too serious and therefore not threatening. (However, it is a warning about the impact of AI on society.) The romance between George and Carol is sweet and endearing but the movie is more geared toward tweens, teens and adults. It is therefore not suitable for under 10's and parental guidance is recommended to 12.

The main messages from this movie are that sometimes you must make difficult choices in life and that love will help to make the right decisions.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Selflessness
  • The ability of the human spirit to rise above material needs for the sake of others.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Dennis was bullied as a child because he had a stutter. He became a successful computer programmer and overcame his affliction. This could be a positive discussion to have with children.

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