The script reads like a cross between a Love Boat episode and Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World. In a post-apocalyptic future, Americans are scrambling like mad to recycle their appliances. Resources are in short supply, and those people living in the cities work drab jobs reclaiming what's left of the society their more consumptive parents created and exhausted.
Sam Treadwell (played by David Andrews) keeps to himself, mostly. He doesn't need anyone else because he has the ultimate sex toy: a robot designed to simulate a woman. She cooks, she cleans, she (ahem) does other stuff. However, she's not waterproof. A soggy episode of lovemaking ends in sparks, and Cherry's body is consigned to the scrap-heap. Her "mind" exists on a little personality chip which can be inserted into another body, but in this day and age, spare robot bodies are hard to come by.
Finding that his life is miserable without Cherry, Sam heads out to the fringes of polite society in search of someone to locate a new body for his robot gal. Out there in the desert, the Robot Graveyard lies, and spare parts are plentiful. After a brief run-in with Brion James (who played an android himself in Blade Runner), Sam finds the mysterious E. Johnson (Melanie Griffith), who is willing to take him into the badlands. Obviously, Sam eventually falls in love with Johnson, dumping his robot for the real woman which life presents to him.
Hilarity (okay, mild amusement) results when they run across the self-appointed ruler of the badlands, named Lester and -- you guessed it, played by Tim Thomerson! We'll confess, we picked this movie simply because it contained our favorite cinematic whipping-boy. Sometimes we do that. Amazingly enough, Thomerson is the best actor in this film. He was the only person we were genuinely interested in, because he was the only one who did anything or evidenced any personality. Lester might be perfectly at home in Woody Allen's Sleeper; he surrounds himself with the same kind of clueless people and walks around in a self-indulgent haze which might be perfectly at home in Allen's quasi-utopia. These scenes, and Thomerson's performance, are the what you might want to watch this film for -- and not much else.
Andrews and Griffith are pretty bland, which is a shame, because they occupy the camera for most of the movie. In their dull, pretty fashion, they recite their lines and seem hesitant about every move they make on screen. Everyone else in this world, however, is really out there. They're dressed weird, they talk weird, they do weird things. They work out legal contracts for one-night stands. They put cats in empty water jugs. They paint blue spots on their faces. It's a weird weird world, and Sam is a white-bread guy from Anaheim who spends too much time with himself.
Aaaah, you shoulda
stuck with the robot.
At times, especially the scenes that take place in Lester's compound, this film seems to be hinting that we are supposed to be taking the goings on as satire. Satire of what? Well, 80's consumerism, we guess. Or maybe liberal California values. Something. Whatever this is a satire of, it's not a very good one. Or we'd know of what it was a satire, QED.
There are several influences working on this film; the creators have obviously seen Blade Runner and Road Warrior enough times to necessitate lots of Oriental-neon-style sets and a hell of a lot of desert footage. There are also a lot of cheap references to early sci-fi films, too -- watch for Robby the Robot's cameo in the repair shop.
But enough rambling. Cherry 2000 is a film for sci-fi aficionados and Tim Thomerson fans. It's got some funny lines, and a terrific death scene for Thomerson, but the love story between Treadwell and Johnson leaves us cold. With all the trouble she gives him, we were rooting for him to dump her and keep Cherry. All the while, it emulates the good films before it, yet never quite reaches escape velocity.