Thursday, December 7, 2017

People You May Know (2017) - A Social Media Parable

Social media is the devil or so I've been told. One temptation in this fool's paradise is to craft an online life that is the envy of your peers. Every picture is perfect, all your posts are rays of sunny positivity and every experience is loaded with meaning and sentiment. While not always honest, I guess this is better than the TMI people who leave you not wanting more.

Jed (Nick Thume) the main character in People You May Know has avoided social media and it's traps like the plague instead opining about how authentic experiences seem to be of a bygone era. Ironically though his profession is to edit social media photos for other people. Want to get rid of that random rash? Need your package boosted for those beach vacation photos? He's the guy to call. Also Nick has hit an online pitfall of his own. While scrolling through so many other people's online posts, he occasionally photo shops himself into other people's pictures. His most prized piece of work has him partying in Las Vegas with Usher. Two women enter Jed's life to propel the plot forward. First is Tasha (Halston Sage) who catches on to Jed's handiwork and makes him a deal. With his skills and her savvy, she wants to see if she can turn him into a viral social media sensation. The other is Franky (Kaily Smith Westbrook), an aspiring actress stuck in the suburbs dreaming of her previous big city life. She is a retro sort of character who lies about her life in the real world and not online. Sparks fly between Jed and Franky and here you have a romantic comedy of sorts.

I wanted to like this movie. The trailer was funny in a modern, hipster sort of way and the roasting social media idea still seems fresh (for now). The Jed/Franky romance is easy going with lot's of chemistry and there is a lot of chuckle worthy humor. For example, don't miss the "locked room" experience. Chrissie Fit, an actress I have never heard of, delivers so many laughs, you will forget that it's supposed to be about Jed and Franky.

Did I like this movie though? Nope, sorry. Jed and Franky's deceits catches up with them. There is a weird Tasha really likes Jed sub plot. Suddenly there are arguments and tears but no laughter. I don't think me and my movie watching companions laughed once during the last twenty minutes. I get it that this part of the movie is about the fictions falling away and dealing with the real world but you can't sacrifice the whole tone of the movie to make a point.

There is a tacked on "thing" at the end in which Jed creates a viral truth telling, warm hearted hashtag but that doesn't work for me either. It's like all the characters at the end of an after school special telling you the lessons they learned.... so skip this one or at least watch in a way that doesn't cost you anything.