Josh Fosse is a 20something guy whose life is going nowhere. His girl left, his rent is late, and he lacks a real job. He is trying to make it as an app reviewer online and decides to review a self help app called i-Lived for fun. He’s signs on and immediately his life turns around. He meets the girl of his dreams and he gets a job offer he can’t refuse. Convinced it’s him and not the app, he signs out… and loses everything. He signs on again but this time the terms are different, the app is asking him to do things that are out of his moral comfort zone… but essential to becoming the success the app tells him he can be.
Oh boy. Well, this is one of those movies that I should have trusted my gut on I think. The bizarrely hyphenated title, and the terrible poster, I immediately wrote this off as another direct-to-streaming, nothing movies that would be on Netflix in a month. Then I read “from the director of Maniac” and looked a bit deeper.
This movie is directed by Franck Kahlfoun, the man who 2012’s first-person slasher (which is pretty awesome, honestly) Maniac. He also directed a movie that people have told me is good, P2, and played Jimmy in everyone’s favourite movie, High Tension. With those credits, my curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to check it out. Big. Mistake.
We are introduced to our main character, played insufferably by Jeremiah Watkins, doing an app review on YouTube, complete with the timeline bar on the bottom of the screen. He is so insanely obnoxious, and I had a hard time figuring out if it was supposed to be what all Youtube stars are like, as seen by the director, or if it was supposed to be a joke. Either way, it fell so flat and came off as annoying and nothing else. No one else really adds anything to the movie, He has a Puerto Rican friend, who states more than once in the movie that he is Puerto Rican (in one case, that is the reason that he knows about kidnapping people) which is hilarious.
The story is so heavy handed, and in the end comes down to a cheap joke about terms and conditions and how no one ever reads them. This punch line is delivered by a man in a suit who is standing in front of horns and becomes the devil. Ha. Ha. Ha. South Park already made that joke, and it was funnier. I have a feeling that this movie is supposed to be at least a little bit funny, but it really doesn’t work. Josh is so obnoxious, that when the movie culminates in his suicide, it doesn’t even register an emotional response. Movies about the evils of technology feel so outdated at this point, and while you could argue that people really are this dependent on their cell phones, but it just takes it too far.
The other massive issue I have with this movie is that there are about 30 too many “waking up from a dream” sequences that make no sense, and occasionally connect to reality and occasionally don’t. There are just too many ideas shoved into this movie that it is bloated and stupid. I have seen that this director is capable of so much more, and this is such a disappointment. Maniac was a much simpler idea, and that may have been one of it’s strengths.
A note to everyone who wants to make movies about technology, and featuring technology (like cellphone video or Youtube video etc), UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS AND LOOKS AND PORTRAY IT PROPERLY. PLEASE. Holy god.
This movie, at the end of the day, is one great big snooze, and an awkward, obnoxious mess. I will absolutely recommend Maniac, but keep this one at a distance. Don’t waste your time.