Not Quite Human 2 (1989) — Android goes to college, falls in love

“Everyone enjoys a good laugh!”

Justin’s rating: 0010010

Justin’s review: As I forge further into this, the most acclaimed trilogy of our time, I have been wrinkling my brain trying to remember just what it was about the Not Quite Human books that appealed to me. I mean, if you listen to some loud voices in our society today, it is mandatory to have some direct representative in any storytelling who is just like us, otherwise it’ll be impossible for us to relate or connect with those characters.

I find that thinking a load of hooey. There are a whole ton of fictional characters who are nothing like me, who don’t “represent” me, yet I found a connection in them even so. Chip the android from Not Quite Human and Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation were as unlike me in their makeup as could be, still I connected with them at a time in my life that I felt abnormal and desperate for some reason to feel special. I mean, being a super-powered robot would fit that bill, yeah?

Continuing the adventures of a far-too-literal minded android created for the sheer whimsy of a bored dad, Chip (Jay Underwood) has somehow made it through high school without everyone finding out his incredible secret. The next step? College, of course! Gotta see how beer and $4 pizza runs are going to affect a highly complex machine!

Chip’s come a long way since the first movie, having taken steps to more closely emulate emotion. For some reason, his fiddling about with this exposes him to a computer virus that messes up something inside of him and wipes his memory of said virus. As the movie goes along, this vague virus starts wearing him down to the point of incapacitation.

This complicates his first week at college, where he encounters a girl named Roberta (Katie Barberi) that Chip starts to fall for. Also — spoilers! — Roberta is an android herself, having been created by an eeeeevil group of android scientists (who coincidentally work out of Chip’s college). While Chip’s been given free will by his dad Dr. Jonas Carson (Alan Thicke) and enjoys the guidance of his seriously cute sister Becky (Robyn Lively), Roberta has no such advantages. Will Chip be the one to reprogram her heart?

Across the board, Not Quite Human 2 is better than the first movie. It’s funnier (and less dorky with its humor), features even more android gadgets (3.5″ floppy disc drives!), and feels like it moves faster, thanks to not having to establish an origin story. Underwood is weirdly enjoyable with all of his quirky mannerisms, and who doesn’t enjoy a dose of Alan Thicke every now and then?

While the blossoming romance between two semi-sentient piles of microchips is quite weird when you analyze it for more than two seconds, it’s still pretty adorkable at heart. Both Roberta and Chip exude a naïve sweetness that makes you as the audience emotionally protective of them — and you kind of want to see what their robot babies would look like.

The college movie tucked inside of this is fascinating as well, with Chip settling into dorm life and navigating parties. There he makes friends with Brandon (Scott Nell), who makes it his mission to make Chip a little cooler and savvy with the women-folk.

Not Quite Human 2 is the kind of wholesome scifi that made for enjoyable evenings as a kid. Nothing offensive, nothing revolutionary — but an easy way to avoid doing homework on a Sunday night.

Didja notice?

  • The same factory used in the ’80s RoboCop and Batman
  • VHS — what all cutting-edge androids use!
  • Chip’s got a 3.5″ floppy drive in his chest and “remote facial control”
  • Tear ducts, ready to be installed
  • The tear ducts shooting water like crazy was funny
  • Magnetic fingers
  • “Fine! The soup looks delicious!”
  • Viruses can make computers literally explode
  • Androids pack oil for college
  • Dr. Carson creates the Stalkermobile!
  • Chip cleaning up at poker
  • Chip at seeing a “Special Projects” sign: “That’s me!”
  • Chip’s pin-ups are robots (wah-wahhhh)
  • Makeover montage with the Peter Gunn theme
  • “Get lost!” “Can’t, automatic locational referencing.”
  • In the ’80s, it was cool to put your sunglasses on string around your neck
  • Pay phones and modem forwarding
  • Becky interviewing her dad’s prospective date
  • “We’ll have a blast!” “Explosions are dangerous.” [smile]
  • The androids going under the table is a really funny moment
  • Chip’s robotic arm gets a lot of use
  • You can store an entire personality on a 3.25″ floppy

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