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Arts and Entertainment

Spike Jonze Releases Trailer For 'Her,' Featuring Scarlett Johansson As Manic Pixie Dream Girl

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You know what I was just thinking the world needs more of? Manic pixie dream girls. No really; the genre hasn't really been sufficiently explored. The type hasn't quite been thought out all the way through. There are so many ways in which the archetype of the sad, depressed man has yet to be brought out of his shell by a mysterious, fun-loving woman.

Just kidding! That is not the case at all. Manic pixie dream girls and the men who love them have been played out every which way to Sunday. But that fact alone, you'll be happy to hear, has not stopped Spike Jonze from writing yet another sad sack male character who is saved by a girl that it's crazy—crazy!—for him to love.

At least, this is what we gather from the trailer for Jonze's new movie, "Her," which was released today. In it, Joaquin Phoenix falls head over heels for Scarlett Johansson—who is actually nothing more than a voice in a computer.

The movie is set in Los Angeles in the not-so-distant future. Phoenix, we are led to understand, has been melancholy since his divorce, but the trailer shows him following the classic seduced-by-a-MPDG story arc, in which he goes from looking sadly at his feet in the shower to running maniacally through a subway station and laughing gleefully. He has been brought back to life, you see, by the breath of fresh air that is the love of this inexplicable woman.

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The woman, once again, is not a real human. She's some kind of artificial intelligence. So while she doesn't follow the MPGD trope exactly—there's no scene of her dancing in the rain, for instance—Phoenix' reaction to her follows it to a T.

Because after all, it still just doesn't make any sense for him to love her, man! But he does. He does, because through her, he learns to be brave, to take risks, and above all, that love—and indeed, life—doesn't always make sense. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be lived.

To be fair, the casting is impeccable. Phoenix—he of the bearded appearances on late night television—pulls off the downtrodden man with aplomb. And Johansson, though we never see her (at least, not in the trailer) reverts back with ease to the kind of role that made her famous. So that was well done. And hey, if you're into this kind of thing, it actually doesn't look like a shitty movie.

It just looks like a movie that's been done hundreds of times before.

Here's the trailer!