How can I be so sure that this movie's floor is "pretty darn good"? Well for starters, if it doesn't have a chance to win Best Picture, at least on paper, I don't think Rooney Mara's agent is even returning your call at this point. And if this movie doesn't at least make a serious run at it (everyone seems to have called the race, given the award to 12 Years a Slave, and gone home, but I'm not so sure), it will only be because it's two biggest forces, Joaquin Phoenix and director Spike Jonze aren't big on the media circuit. If only the award for Best Picture were about making the best movie of the year, and not about glad-handing the voters and getting the press involved in your campaign... but that's another rant for another time (another Monday?)
While some of the other clips available for the movie play up just how "damaged goods" Phoenix's Theodore is, the trailer keeps itself contained with a run-of-the-mill broken heart. I have a hunch that with a good portion of the movie involving Phoenix talking to Samantha in public when only he can hear her (check the earpiece visible above and in several scenes throughout the trailer), the social butterflies in the audience will find the movie laughable if not a bit embarrassing, while it may strike a chord with the rest of us. The mustache, glasses, and plaid shirts tell me that Jonze somewhat intended the attachment that section of the audience will feel towards Theodore.
Following his self-imposed exile from Hollywood for several years, Joaquin Phoenix appears to have come back with either better luck or better project selection. Following The Master with this is quite the comeback for him after going dormant in '08. Scarlett Johansson meanwhile, has always struck me as lucky. Constantly getting to work with filmmakers I'd consider out of her league (except Michael Bay on The Island; that is exactly her league), a decent turn here might force me to reevaluate her. She did her best to ruin The Prestige with her terrible accent, but after a fantastic portrayal of a Jersey Girl in Don Jon, anything above a passable performance as Samantha would show that she probably just took a while to hone her craft. The wild card is Rooney Mara. Very little can be gleaned from the trailer about her role or the size of it, but I can't imagine she'll detract from the rest of the movie.
The only way I can see the movie sinking below 4 stars would be if it somehow tries to end with a heavy-handed moral about the possible antisocial consequences of interacting that heavily with technology. Will Amy Adams just be a sounding board for some of the movie's ideas, or will she be there as the love interest Theodore transitions to after Samantha does the heavy lifting of mending his broken heart? You can expect a review from me to answer that question, as I'll be seeing this one opening weekend.