17 March 2014 | bob the moo
Actually quite good in what it does, but deserves to always have the plagiarism aspect associated with it
As you can see from the very low score on IMDb (current 3.4 of 10), this short film appears to have stirred up some negative feeling. Watching the film itself from the comfort of a site where everyone is an internet critic, it would be nice to think that such negativity comes from how bang on target the film is regarding internet critics (and critics generally) but as is very well known, it is not the case. Instead the voting reflects the circumstances of the film because Shia LaBeouf stole the script from someone else, making it into this short film without any credit or financial compensation to the original writer. This being revealing kicked off a wonderful series of tweets and apologies from the star of all those Transformers films – which became all the more wonderful as it turned out he also Googled for such things and then copy/pasted those too.
With all this in the background it is hard to watch it without trying to hate it, which is a shame because the film itself is not as bad as it would be nice to say it were. It does have teeth to the idea as we see a critic be influenced and struggle with his morals, looking down his nose at all others for doing the same job at him but being won over by the goodie bags and access, while also finding himself in the same position. The edge also comes from the way the film freely shows us the hypocrisy of the man and the clash of his self-importance and skewed view of his place with the reality of an open laptop in a coffee shop nursing a coffee for hours just to have somewhere to work. It doesn't overdo this aspect but just about gets the balance right.
The narration by Gaffigan is good and he sets the tone very well. This is supported by the soundtrack, which I didn't really care for but did work pretty well. The direction is good throughout because it plays into the attack on the critic in a way that is never crass but is well done – it could so easily have been a big Hollywood star getting petty revenge on the little people that dare to say Transformers is not as good as Citizen Kane, but although there is a bit of that here, it is never as blatant as it could have been. It is a weird film that way, it has much to like about it but at the same time you will find yourself struggling with it because it is a case of a millionaire attacking someone smaller and with infinitely fewer resources – and making that attack with a weapon he took without asking from someone equally not as rich or famous as him.