Google Me

"Weak"

Google Me Review


Everybody Googles himself once in a while. Some of us even have automatic alerts set up to see who's talking about us (or plagiarizing us -- you know who you are). It's not an ego thing. It's just what you do. It has to be done.

In the case of Jim Killeen, it's not just an ego thing, it's also a movie. Killeen, a folksy L.A. transplant and failed actor, was obviously bored out of his skull one day and decided that he'd make a movie about all the other Jim Killeens he found via Google as an attempt to jump-start his Big Break. This is his story.

What, you're not jumping from your chair yet to order the DVD? Maybe that's because you've actually interacted with someone else with your name already, usually the result of an online search like Killeen's. I am pinged on a near-weekly basis by other Nulls and even other Christopher Nulls (there are at least 60 of us in the U.S. alone), asking if we might be related or where I grew up. There are also the debt collectors who are trying to get some other Christopher Null's student loan paid off. And yet never have I felt the urge to enter a chili cook-off with these other Chris Null characters.

So, for no particular reason other than the usual "let's see if we have anything in common" nonsense, Killeen starts what appears to be an agonizing process to get people to be in his movie. He finds dozens of Jim Killeens online. None of them want to have anything to do with his project. Eventually an Irish priest relents and Jim flies to meet Jim. They have very little in common (filmmaker Jim turns out to be a Scientologist, which may explain a lot about why he is ignored by so many other Jims), but Jim seems happy to have met at least one person with his name. Eventually other Jims finally break down and let him in for a visit, including an Australian dad, a retired New York cop, one Jim Killeen with an enormous family and a flooded house, and, most intriguingly, a Denver-area swinger with a transsexual girlfriend.

Jim's interviews with the other Jims are straightforward and unsurprising, with the exception of some eyebrow-raising at the expense of swinger Jim and his swinger friends. And then, after asking a half-dozen fellows what they think "life's purpose" is (groan), Jim runs out of gas. No one else will talk to him, and we're 45 minutes into the movie. Killeen then embarks on a strange tangent about his own family. No, they aren't named Jim, but two of them are clinically insane, and Killeen spends 15 minutes interviewing his heavily medicated siblings, his mom, and lambasting anti-depressants, Tom Cruise-style. Then it's back to the Jims -- with our filmmaker flying all of them in to Killeen, Texas where, yes, they enter a chili cookoff, drink a lot of beer, and all check in to the same hotel under the same name. Can you imagine the look on the clerk's face!? Oh my God!

Often cute but frequently groan-inducing and trite (Watch Jim taste Vegemite for the first time! Watch Jim try to drive on the left side of the road!), Google Me is a quaint diversion that desperately tries to answer big questions, but ultimately has little more depth than spending 10 spare minutes on YouTube. Watch it and you'll never wonder about people with the same name as you again.

If you'd like to see this same topic handled with far more aplomb, check out The Grace Lee Project, wherein documentarian Grace Lee looks at the stereotype baggage her name comes saddled with and actually interviews hundreds of Grace Lees in order to see what the have in common and what they don't. Lee's movie may not have "Google" in the title, but it actually makes a point.



Google Me

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th April 2008

Distributed by: FilmBuff

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jim Killeen

Producer: Jim Killeen, Jeannie Roshar

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