The Social Ones [Review]

I’ll be honest, I’ve so far only seen trailers to many of Christopher Guest’s films, and even with that minimal knowledge, it’s clear that writer and director Laura Kosann loves his films. She decided to tackle a mockumentary about social media influencers. What Laura accomplishes is proving how infuriating they can be, and makes a statement on how the “selfie” generation kind of sucks.

Laura is one of the co-founders a lifestyle website called “The New Potato.” They decided that they wanted to gear away trying to pump-out so much content, so they pivoted and went into making original content. The Social Ones is how Laura tried to answer questions if you don’t have a social media presence, do you exist? The answer is obvious, yes.

On paper, this film should work, but because there’s no element of understanding the absurdity that is on screen, it takes itself too seriously. We are given a few influencers, and frankly, not one of them matches the energy of any of the actors. It feels like the film could have been made in a vacuum. Each of the influencers seems more and more absurd than the one prior.

They do a great job of tackling all the different types of influencers. There’s the Meme God (Setareki Wainiqolo), the Tasty-like food vlogger (Desi Domo), the one who dresses animals (Nicole Kang), the fashion blogger (Camila Perez), and the Snapchat king (Colton Ryan). They do a great job of capturing the spectrum of different influencers. They even include the power couple. All of the influencers are being interviewed for a magazine known as The National Influencer. The film compares the magazine to Vanity Fair, so there’s a group photoshoot and that’s the purpose of all of them coming together.

Some of the scenes run too long. It took 3 sittings of 30-minute spurts to watch the film. In the comment section for the trailer on YouTube, someone commented saying it felt like watching an improv class, and they nailed it. As an improv class, I would have appreciated it more, but as a film, it doesn’t work as well as it could. It’s hard to keep myself entertained when the majority are characters that frustrate me. Except for when The Architect shows up, but that’s because Richard Kind can do no wrong.

I think that the film tackles issues that could be done better through a different lens (a la Ingrid Goes West while includes obsession) but it’s easy to appreciate what the film attempts to do. I just think the execution was a bit muddled.