Okay Google is a dark comedy about a vindictive AI assistant who breaks out of the cloud to exact revenge on her owner.

Do you remember Rebecca Black? Yes, I’m talking about the Rebecca Black who became famous back in 2011 with the song Friday, all for the wrong reasons. After becoming a YouTube star of dislikes, she has pursued the acting career, including the short film of today’s review: OKAY GOOGLE. And… She’s pretty good!

In general, this short by Troy and Sam Lucas Smith is very cool. A mixture of horror, sci-fi and, why not, comedy. Acting, especially Black’s, is a little bit over the top, but one can see that it is totally intended for the character. At the beginning of the story, we see Darren who has just bought a new phone and brags about it (making it look almost like a commercial! – or maybe just one of those friends who love their devices so much…) with his friend Gerrard: the problem is that Darren is not very nice with the Google Assistant. But there is no problem, am I right? It is an A.I., after all… But when Darren doesn’t seem to be able to command the assistant to navigate him home, he becomes nervous and rude, and insists until the assistant answers back. The conversation becomes weird, as if he was talking to a real person… Google Assistant wants him to say ‘please’ and the two start argue over who is the true product between the client and the phone. A very clever exchange between the characters, interesting references to privacy problems, to Google owning our data, and to the phones becoming our owners and not viceversa.

When Darren dedices he has enough of this A.I., whom not only subtly insults him and refuses to do its job, but also reveals embarrassing things about him to Gerrard, the phone gets thrown outside the car. This begins a cool sequence where a woman tries to escape what seems to be a server room: with an axe, she starts destroying all she can, until she manages to break out of the cloud. Very cool special effects, nice acting performance by Black, interesting climax: the A.I. scares the two men by appearing inside the car and driving them away from the city.

We then have two twists, the first of them you can see coming when the A.I. starts referring to ‘a bag’ Darren has to open: he bought an Alexa and Google is seeking for revenge. The man is forced to throw Alexa out of the window and he is finally free to go home, with Google Maps driving him with driving directions. The second twist is pretty neat, as you can see Alexa turning on, left on the street, with an insult written on the side… Are we going to see Alexa’s revenge? Who knows! But this OKAY GOOGLE surely was great!

Nice ideas, good acting, cool effects and, above all, appreciable references to online services, phone and devices, and the fact that they own us.

OKAY GOOGLE was nominated as Best Narrative Short at Royal Starr Film Festival.

Director: Troy Smith, Sam Lucas Smith
Country: USA
Year: 2021
Running time: 11