If there were an award only for taking on as many jobs as possible, Anthony Hines and Casper Christensen’s Robot would doubtlessly win it. It’s not your run-of-the-mill sci-fi rom-com. While most rom-coms take their pick out of a list of minor conflicts to conquer by the end of the movie, Robots aims to address America’s hatred for immigrants and hopes to fix an insufferable man-child and an odd gold-digger at the same time. How does it fare? It depends on who you ask. First, let’s get your doubts cleared up about what goes down in Elaine and Charles’ lives when their advanced lookalike androids go rogue.
Plot Summary: What Happens In ‘Robots’?
Here we are in the dystopian aftermath of what could’ve been the state of America if Trump’s dream of keeping Mexican immigrants out with a giant, unsightly wall had come true. Except that, we’ve taken a rather big step ahead in time to imagine the state of the country where advanced robots, capable of providing labor, have made the necessity of exploiting immigrants obsolete. You can take one mode of exploitation away, but people, especially spoiled brats like our protagonist Charles, will surely find a creative solution to their inconvenience. He’s made a butler, a personal groomer, and a whole lot more out of C2, a robot lookalike he’s illegally purchased from Tesla’s creepy code-bro Zach. The news of a man getting thrown in the clink for committing the same crime doesn’t keep Charles from sending out C2 on dates with women to make a good impression because he couldn’t be less interested in putting in the time or the effort. The only times Charles does show up, and performs very poorly even, then are when the women have already been manipulated into wanting to sleep with him. So you can’t really call it a meet cute when C2 bumps into Elaine, and the two start off a lukewarm romance. You see, Elaine isn’t a regular, naive victim falling into Charles’ sleazy traps. She’s somewhat of a con woman who dates people who will splurge on her, and she makes her own lookalike robot E2 get intimate with the men. The universe couldn’t have made a better match.
How Do E2 And C2 Fall In Love?
Had ‘Robots’ been a dark comedy or even a satire, we could’ve expected E2 and C2’s chance meeting to lead to a less predictable outcome. But since the imminent android romance is ‘Robot’s’ weapon of choice in the war against human follies, the meeting plays out the way you’d expect. It’s an inattentive address mishap on Charles’s part that lands him in the board meeting with flowers and strawberries in his hands and gives C2 a chance to break his abstinence and gain complex sentience. And once the obedient androids have tasted love, you bet they won’t be back to have their emotions reprogrammed by their masters.
Robots hasn’t bothered explaining the extent of emotions these strikingly lifelike robots are capable of feeling. But from the looks of it, there’s no limit to the magnitude of feelings they’re programmed to feel. They’ve bid adieu to the lives of slaving for people who not only callously milk their service but also do it for contemptible purposes. It doesn’t take the robots in love more than a little scheming to convince Charles and Elaine that they’re now fugitives that the cops are after. E2 and C2’s love, however, isn’t strong enough to melt Charles and Elaine’s stony hearts, and their only purpose now is to hunt down and sabotage the rogue robots.
‘Robots’ Ending Explained – Do Charles And Elaine Learn Their Lessons?
The cons of the behemoth wall standing as a draconian barrier between the two countries have blended together to form the steady undercurrent of conflict that drives ‘Robot’s’ narrative. The most obvious representation of the worst possible actualization comes through Charles’s good-for-nothing friend Ashley. Well, it goes without saying that the enlightenment is more for the audience to attain on their own as they scrutinize Ashley’s peculiar predicament. While he could once blame the “job-stealing” immigrants for his own incompetence, now that they’re gone, the robots are on the receiving end of his bullying.
Another major problem caused by America’s ill-conceived and territorial technological advancement is how dreary and mechanized the country has become. Even E2 and C2 have planned to flee to Mexico, now the land of the free, where they can live out their lives basking in the bliss of love. To free themselves of the fatal clutches of their human lookalikes, the robots have sent Charles and Elaine a fake video of them breaking into a store and killing a bunch of people. Being the brainless duds that they are, instead of cross-checking to make sure that the police are actually after them, Charles and Elaine go into hiding, and Charles even paints over his ugly, one-of-a-kind blue van. The only good that comes out of the two laying low is Charles’s sudden realization that he’s been a bit of a deadbeat bum who’s difficult to be around. Elaine has also warmed up to Charles now that he’s showing legit signs of working on himself and becoming a better person.
The realization that two glorified androids have pulled a fast one on them hits them with the might of a train when their van is pulled over, and the cop doesn’t detain them. It’s only then that Elaine thinks to check her phone and comes to know that not only have E2 and C2 replaced them in their real lives, but they’re also about to have a wedding to make their love official. Dressed up as robot laborers, Elaine and Charles crash the wedding, take the android bride and groom hostage, and attempt to drown them in the river. They’re not the brightest bulbs in the box, are they? And when that fails, and C2 breaks free, they’ve got another “foolproof” plan to use Zach’s E3 robot, which was also created after Elaine’s image, to make C2 jealous.
After almost getting assaulted by the designed-to-be-lascivious E3, Charles manages to make a video of her coming on to him and sends it to C2 to lure him in. Raining on their parade is a cop car that tails C2 on his pursuit and ends up arresting Elaine, Charles, and their robot doubles. Cramped up in a little cell, feasting on jail food, Charles and Elaine’s lives have taken a turn that neither of them saw coming. Getting away with their atrocious endeavors all their lives made them believe that they were almost invincible. Whether it’s because of the vulnerable position that they’re in or the lessons that they’ve learned along the way, the unconditional love that C2 and E2 share strikes a chord with the two people who’ve always prioritized life’s hedonistic and materialistic pleasures over love.
When Charles connivingly calls Ashley to bust them out, his purpose isn’t just to get freedom for himself and Elaine; it’s also to help C2 and E2 get to a place where no one would mess with their happiness. But the problem is their robot counterparts share the same retinal reading as Charles and Elaine, which effectively means that only one pair gets to cross the border and go over to Mexico. The fact that Charles and Elaine are ready to sacrifice their freedom for the sake of the robots’ happiness is proof that they’ve come a long way. Luckily for the two, C2 and E2’s departure also absolves them of the charges that the cop wished to bring against them. Now that the robots are gone, Charles and Elaine’s lives of deceiving clueless people have also come to an end. But as the ending scene clearly establishes, this isn’t a loss that either of them is likely to mourn, as they’ve found their happiness in the love that they’ve come to find within one another.