The Social Network Movie Review

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Just about the opposite of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, though money rarely takes a nap in The Social Network either, while Oliver Stone denounces avarice and financial gluttony, the latter movie tends to revel and wallow in it. And though it may seem in excess as well to mount a lavish production about a website, Facebook may in fact have the distinction of being the only ‘book’ today’s Youtube generation cares to read.

The self-consciously insular, Bubble era, post-Greed Decade Social Network stars Jesse Eisenberg as real life male Juno motormouth, Mark Zuckerberg. Reputed to be the youngest billionaire in history, the hotshot Harvard undergrad nerd grabbed that particular claim to fame as a result of inaugurating Facebook in cyberspace, then auctioning it off to the highest conglomerate bidders.

Though according to filmmaker David Fincher, who seems to already have an experienced handle on scrutinizing budding sociopaths with Fight Club, Se7en and Zodiac, and as mapped out in a series of legal depositions inserted into this film, Zuckerberg had a flair for ripping off both ideas and profits from fellow matriculated collaborators in this venture. Cavalier when not in your face cocky, the gabby snob navigates a Hollywood notion of Harvard in what seems less brainiac boot camp than an Ivy League Club Med where nobody does homework.

Though Zuckerberg if nothing else, appears to be dubiously majoring in extra-curricular activities full time, while butting heads with gullible bluebloods. And on a campus boasting a novel sort of Animal House, where the creature of choice is a computer mouse.

Based on the Ben Mezrich bestseller, The Accidental Billionaires, The Social Network finds Zuckberg moving on from hacking college administrative websites and rudely outing coeds according to their physical assets, to designing a publicly posted private relationship network that eventually takes the planet by storm. And he’s soon joined by infamous Napster hustler Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) while alienating partners and amassing a fortune from financiers. Though the chatty film, for all its noisy bravado, is uncharacteristically silent in coming clean about what exactly lured investors in and kept them there.

And while the film is always about brains rather than brawn, The Social Network is strictly guy territory with mental bawling providing the main action, in a peculiar Harvard essentially sexed up and dumbed down. And a main character spouting such an insanely intellectualized rowdy rap minus the music, and seemingly psyching himself into a fast forward run-on sentence karma of hyper-capitalist high, that any social logic to this unfocused infomercial in biopic clothing, falls by the wayside.

Sony Pictures

Rated PG-13

2 stars

The Social Network is the Opening Night feature of the 2010 NY Film Festival. More information is online at: FilmLinc.com/NYFF.