Many of you I'm sure have asked yourselves: What will mid-life crisis look like in the world of tomorrow?

Well, now we know. Thanks to the new sci-fi flick, Code 46, starring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton, the future of nookie seems bright indeed -- if you're the man, that is.

So what, pray tell, has changed?

In the not too distant near term of director Michael Winterbottom's latest movie, the world looks like downtown Tokyo with a hangover. People speak a version of Esperanto in which English is the main language, peppered with phrases from Castilian Spanish, Japanese and Arabic. Yup. A little Mecca, a little Blade Runner, Mick Jones singing "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" in a Terry And The Pirates karaoke bar. You get the idea. Ah, the future! If this is what the New World Order is leading us to, please, let me off right here.

The one thing you can't do in the future, apparently, is travel. must have taken a big hit because you need something called a "papelle" to go anywhere -- a kind of passport. And when a counterfeit papelle ring is uncovered in Shanghai, "they" send Tim Robbins in to investigate.

He's a lanky, middle-aged businessman, Tim. Politically correct as always, he offers street people a smile and his compassion. And though no reason is given for his need to fall in love with the girl he finds at the center of this Hawaiian Holiday Giveaway, he does. Their one-night romance consists of Tim watching Samantha dance in a strobe light, giving us a Tim's-eye-view of her improbably compelling physiognomy. Why wouldn't Tim fall in love? I did. She's not a beauty, but Samantha Morton is certainly beautiful.

I'll never make fun of girls who shave their heads and wear Doc Martins ever again.

The evening ends back in Samantha's bleak apartment. It's early Soviet Bloc with just a hint of claustrophobia, but she calls it home. Their union is equally utilitarian. And as soon as it's over, Future Man's gotta go. Tim, turns out, is much like men today; he may be politically correct, but he's sort of a shit. He's married, that cad, with a son to boot! And by the time he gets home, he is like every other businessman just back from the convention, and has reduced his contact with Samantha to leaving messages on her machine -- albeit a machine with a really cool video screen.

But this futuristic love embrace gets a futuristic twist when Samantha turns up pregnant, and here's where The Jetsons part begins. In addition to the abortion, Samantha gets her memory erased. According to the dread Orwellian future law, the titular "Code 46," their union is not only illegal, she can't even keep the photos or cocktail napkins as mementos. And when Tim is sent back in to Shanghai to clean up the unfinished business his affair has left hanging, he's got to fall in love with Samantha all over again. And she with him.

The real cheating of this Last Tango in 2030, this Brazil without the laughs, is in the storytelling. As with the best sci-fi, we get a lot of neat futuristic stuff. Smart thinking has created a world where the citizens have to work at night (due to the ozone layer's thinning) and have a lot of cool haircuts and even cooler Palm Pilots. But the piling on of plot twists with things that come out of left field is not fair game no matter how cool. And there's a bunch of ninth inning additions like this: the oddball viruses implanted in people which cause them to do things (at convenient times), rules of behavior that are suddenly introduced, and the biggest surprise of all, which, if I understand correctly, reveals that Samantha is actually Tim's mother.

Deus Ex Mama!

By the time Tim's l'affaire future ends, he is back with his wife, his brain conveniently scrubbed of his one-night stand, and Samantha has been exiled to the Springs, just like every other L.A. starlet who had an fling with a bigwig and didn't have sense enough to ask for the house in Malibu.

But why bother?

In the future, you can't go out in the daytime anyway, you can't travel, and you can't even have sex without the whole friggin' world knowing about it. Love-shmove! If this is what the future of romance is about, save your papelles.

Tomorrow ain't what it used to be.

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