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With: Nicole Kang, Colton Ryan, Desi Domo, Setareki Wainiqolo, Amanda Giobbi, Laura Kosann, Danielle Kosann, Davram Stiefler, Richard Kind, Debra Jo Rupp, Stephanie March, Peter Scolari, Jackie Hoffman, Allegra Edwards, David T. Patterson
Written by: Laura Kosann
Directed by: Laura Kosann
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 86
Date: 03/03/2020

The Social Ones (2020)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Post Mortem

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Shot in "mockumentary" style, this comedy both fails to capture the feel of an actual documentary, and fails to really nail its subject matter; it feels slightly out of touch, and mostly innocuous.

In The Social Ones, Mia (writer-director Laura Kossan) and Ava (Danielle Kossan), who run The National Influencer magazine, are preparing for their fifth anniversary issue, which will feature a cover photo of the five social media influencers with the largest number of followers.

There's Snapchat king Dan Summers (Colton Ryan), "meme god" Kap Phat Jawacki (Setareki Wainiqolo), Southern chef Dixie Bell (Desi Domo), animal costumer Jane Zap (Nicole Kang), and obnoxious fashion diva Josie Z (Amanda Giobbi). Unfortunately, just before the shoot, Dan has a kind of breakdown and reverts to using older technologies, dropping off the grid, sending the rest of the social media world into a spiral.

One of the keys to a great "mockumentary" is to place the camera only in places that a real documentary camera would be able to get into. The Social Ones has many scenes (therapy sessions, a private meeting, an undercover job interview, etc.), wherein the camera wouldn't have been there, and it immediately feels like cheating, or fakery. We can see through the trick. Another major problem is that the movie has chosen a rather broad, and moving, target.

Social media is such a huge, ever-present, and ever-changing subject that it's necessary to razor-focus. In choosing its five clownish social media influencers, all of whom have let fame go to their heads, the movie becomes too broad. As a result, all of the jokes land with a flop, and there are no laughs.

A joke about "trolls" — which should have been savage — just feels corny. A joke about a middle-aged social media professor is just sad, and even the great Richard Kind, appearing as "The Architect" of all social media, has surprisingly little to do. The only real upside to The Social Ones is that it never crosses the line into offensive territory; give it a mild "dislike."

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