“The Social Ones” is a knowing smirk of a farce about social media “influencers” and the dizzy, faux importance they have in our cell-and-selfie-obsessed culture.
Funny people vamp up funny characters in a deadpan comedy that lightly lampoons the phenomenon without quite landing the sucker punches or the laughs it needs to come off.
Writer-director Laura Kosann and her sister Danielle Kosann star as Mia and Ava, star reporter and photographer for National Influencer Magazine. They round up broadly-drawn social media “stars” of the moment for this mockumentary send-up of the very idea “influencers.”
There’s Dan (Colton Ryan), “The King of Snapchat,” a would-be video daredevil who has no actual skills at the various stunts he attempts.
Josie Z (Amanda Giobbi) is a “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” Instagram fashionista, a diva forever abusing her hapless intern (Davram Stiefler).
“My nose job is FRESH. I KNOW how I want it to look!”
Dixie Bell (Desi Domo) is “The Goddess of Viral Food,” a Gordon Ramsay-mouthed chef running a team of minions who does “hybrid desserts” from “the six basic food groups” which include “pizza…stuff stuffed with CHEESE….and anything you can dye with a rainbow.”
She’s having a fling with KapPhatJawacki (Setareki Wainiqolo), the demented “Meme God.”
And Nicole Kang in Jane Zap, a vlogger dressed in kittenish Hello Kitty-wear, dressing up “models” (pets she borrows) for video photo shoots.
The sister-journalists deadpan about how “‘Engagement’ doesn’t mean ‘marriage’ any more,” and how their anxiety kicks in every time they have to profile one of these “legends,” because it’s not like “just casually approaching Gandhi at a DINNER PARTY.”
Peter Scolari’s an academic doltishly teaching doltish college kids the most basic elements of social media — “What is a ‘like?’ Anyone? A troll?”
Stephanie March is the shrink to Social Media Nation, counseling “hot” Internet couples, influencers struggling to cope with the pressure of their “fame” in an office with “#” and “@” paintings on the wall.
Debra Jo Rupp is the overheated, Anne Rice-ish novelist of sex and tech fetishism, “#touchingwithouttouching.”
And Richard Kind? Well, you’ll see.
It’s hard to send up a phenomenon that already seems like a parody of “real life.” And pausing for big servings of “message” stops it cold.
You know what “The Social Ones” is? It’s a film festival comedy, one that plays better to a forgiving, message-savvy audience. Despite the comically committed bigger-name cameos, the send-up of a “troll farm,” and the best of the over-the-top influencers (Giobbi is a stitch), it rarely achieves much beyond a smirk of recognition.
MPAA Rating: unrated, profanity, sexual situations
Cast: Desi Domo, Colton Ryan, Amanda Giobbi, Setareki Wainiqolo, Nicole Kang, Danielle Kosann , Laura Kosann, Peter Scolari, Debra Jo Rupp and Richard Kind
Credits: Written and directed by Laura Kosann. A Comedy Dynamics release.
Running time: 1:27