Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -1/2

This film interweaves the stories of four obsessive men, each driven to create eccentric worlds of their dreams, all involving animals. Dave Hoover, a lion tamer, idolizes the late Clyde Beatty, the legendary lion tamer. He shares his odd theories on the mental processes of wild animals; George Mendonca is a topiary gardener who has devoted his life to painstakingly shaping bears and giraffes out of hedges and trees. Ray Mendez is fascinated with hairless mole-rats, tiny buck-toothed mammals who behave like insects. And Rodney Brooks, an M.I.T. scientist, designs complex, autonomous robots that can crawl like bugs without specific instructions from a human controller. As the film unfolds, we see how each of these men, although their interests seem to have no connection, are similar. We also see how their pursuits reflect the human condition as a whole. Although this documentary is well-crafted, it will probably only receive modest returns at the box-office because it is a documentary, and therefore, will appeal to a narrow audience.

The common thread woven under the surface of all four stories is the idea that all of us, humans, plants, animals, and robots, are all the same. Humans act like animals who act like plants who act like robots, and vice-versa. Another idea below the surface is the concept of evolution. Plants evolved into animals who evolved into humans, and -- you guessed it -- who will evolve into robots. The MIT scientist developing robots actually projects that silicon-based life (robots) will replace carbon-based life (humans, plants, and animals). Some viewers may be tempted to scoff at such an assertion, but he makes the statement in all sincerity and with a tone of fascination. However interesting FAST, CHEAP AND OUT OF CONTROL tries to be, it remains a documentary, which will be enough to keep most viewers away. At the same time, evolution is presented as a fact, which it isn't and many who go may find their values challenged.

Preview Reviewer: Jason Shepherd
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics, 550 Madison Ave., 8th Floor, New York, NY 10022

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Few times - Mild (Lions swipe at lion trainer)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Evolutionary theory presented as fact
Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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