Directed by Jehane Noujaim,
Viewed at the San Francisco International Film Festival
This film shows your average frat boys chasing the Internet dream of living like idiots on Easy Street. So they start a company with a mission to help people pay parking tickets at 2:23am from a computer terminal, which personally, is exactly what I've always wanted to do. The company is called Govworks. However, throughout the movie, I received a prevailing impression that neither founder actually cared about anything remotely connected to helping anyone do anything at all. Long before the company is going to fail, for instance, one of them says, "Who cares if this company fails, we still have nice places to live." In such ways, slowly but surely, they managed to squeeze the air out of my mind's lung, until I was sitting there brain dead in disbelief. So if you want to keep your respect for human nature in one piece, then don't see this movie. And if you have already worked at an Internet startup company, then you probably won't see anything new anyway. And it's definitely too soon to get nostalgic about it. This film reminded me of everything that I hated about 1999 and the Internet mania. And after watching the movie, I felt like I needed a sponge bath. So maybe if you're a masochist, or if you like seeing spoiled New York men way over their head in responsibilities -- then see this film. You might think that, because I actively despise some of the characters in Startup.com -- that it engaged me at least on that level -- and therefore that the film is good. Well, don't make that mistake! Or else you will end up watching these clowns perform their tediously revealing venture capital dog and pony show. You will see them belittle their girl friends in clumsy hurtful ways. And you will be nauseated by their lack of loyalty, as the vain characters betray each other over and over -- even though they were childhood friends -- in the name of unsubstantiated greed. The film is like a python grip of suffocation by corrupted mediocrity. Basically, I'd rather drink a cup of used Band-Aid juice then have to watch this documentary again. In only two hours, I believe the founders of Govworks flaunted every flawed character trait that I have ever seen, and even invented some new ones. I'd say: Miss it.
Reviewed by Eric Wolfram, FilmCities