Monday Movies Needs Him. He’s Our Friend.

Robot and Frank opens with a sequence borrowed from Bottle Rocket: a robber breaking and entering into his own home. But unlike Owen Wilson’s Dignan, whose crime is in preparation for a more eventful life, Frank (Frank Langella) is helplessly reliving his adventures. Frank lives in Cold Spring, NY, five hours’ round trip from his barely-not-estranged son Hunter (James Marsden), and under the lengthening shadow of dementia. When Hunter brings him a helper robot, an affably clunky-looking white cartoon astronaut without a name (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard, inhabited by dancer Rachael Ma), he proudly resists at first, but soon learns that the robot’s obedience to federal and state law is subordinate to its prime directive, to maintain his health, and if planning and executing heists keeps his mind sharp and his life purposeful, the robot is happy to learn the meaning of “case the joint.”
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