Screen grab from a new iPhone commercial featuring actor John Malkovich. (Apple )
In a new ad, the voice of iPhone 4S meets the embodiment of all things eerie and slightly off-kilter — John Malkovich.
Really and truly, the ad made me nervous for Siri. Typically scenes that start with the "Un bel dì vedremo" aria from Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" echoing through the room (think "Fatal Attraction"), Malkovich sipping coffee and asking one-word questions while exhaling audibly usually don't end well for the others in them.
I know most of us who have seen "Being John Malkovich" hope Siri answers his single-word queries with "Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich." That would have been classic, but probably would have resulted in him spit-screaming back at her, "No! No! No!" with increasing intensity and emphasis.
Every time I watch the ad, still, I wait for that. After all, he started laughing like a bit of a madman before she even started telling the joke he demanded in his stereotypical calm-before-the-storm manner. Did you notice?
When he asks about linguiça, I half-expected it was to use the sausage later to beat the life out of some other sap tied up in the room as he calmly sipped his morning espresso.
Malkovich utters a single word and Siri dutifully answers what's asked of her. That'd never happen, but it's a 30-second ad after all. Indeed, segments were shortened.
In reality, she'd probably reply, "I'm sorry. I don't understand," about two or three times before Malkovich inevitably lost it.
In earlier Siri ads, we got the softer side of Sam Jackson, the actor who often blends his screaming brimstone and fire with a hint of cool, as he ditched the golf clubs to plan a night deserving Barry White as a soundtrack. Perky-meets-quirky actress Zooey Deschanel gets meteorologic guidance and an accomplice in her quest to loaf and dance.
One theme through all of these ads is food. Though there is a food-related query, it seems they've moved beyond the tomato-based soups thread. Jackson was hooking up his keep-it-chilled gazpacho and Deschanel had to look beyond her cabinet for tomato soup. But Malkovich wants seasoned pork sausage.
We've already seen Malkovich inside of Malkovich. I'm waiting for Malkovich in Siri. Now that'd be a phone I'd have to get.