‘BlackBerry’ review: Comedy emerged from a true tech tragedy

Tech icons Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs have inspired prestigious dramas such as: Social network And Steve Jobs. But for Mike Lazaridis, Doug Fregin and Jim Balsillie, the masterminds behind the groundbreaking Blackberry, their ups and downs are comedic. Or at least as co-writer, director, and lead actor Matt Johnson wildly delivers. Blackberry.

Making its North American Premiere at the SXSW Festival, Blackberry is a good friend with Tetris, another tech-centric biography that turns potentially boring business issues into chuckling pieces. Beyond their superficial similarities, both films succeed or fail because of the main cast.

What Blackberry about?

In 1996, Doug (Johnson) and Mike (Jay Baruchel in the shimmering silver wig) enter a meeting that will change their lives forever. There’s not much to look at inventing bros. Always adorned with a sweatband, kids’ graphic T-shirts, and gym shorts, Doug’s disdain for his usual job is as stark as his ragged cap. Meanwhile, wearing nerdy aviator glasses and an old envelope-colored shirt, Mike looks more like a humble bank teller than tech’s next big star. It’s hardly surprising, then, that the ballad executive Jim (Glenn Howerton shaves off to become a balding nuisance) can barely contain his disgust. But a great idea is a great idea, and even with its clumsy presentations – “a cell phone and an email machine all in one” – it’s clear that it’s a great idea.

Despite personality clashes and bouts of insecurity, the Canadian trio are turning this hybrid device into a whole new industry. Blackberry It lists their rough beginnings, their dizzying successes, and then the horrific manipulations and crimes to keep them at the top of the smartphone game when the iPhone arrives.

Blackberry A cautionary tale that shakes with humor and heart.

Through the three interlocking arcs of Doug, Mike, and Jim, the script (co-written by Johnson and Matthew Miller) plots a sheer tale of Greed versus Goofus. Doug is the kind of guy to quote meaningfully. Star wars Fight passionately in a business talk and upholding silly office traditions like the quirky placement of a piston and a weekly movie night – deadlines be damned! But as their company’s potential grows, Mike – in Doug’s words – gets lost on the Dark Side.

Jim, a shark in a suit, is always on the move up the corporate ladder and doesn’t put up with fools or walkers. Johnson brings an almost obnoxious ah-shucks attitude to Mike, while Howerton channels his hilarious anger from the start Philadelphia is always sunny ruthlessly stuck in BlackBerry’s corporate culture. Of course, Mike initially steps back to protect the integrity of his invention and the loyalty of his employees. But money changes people. By the time Blackberry Getting the predictable middle-of-the-road movie makeover, Mike looks sharper in more ways than one.

Glenn Howerton is hilarious; Jay Baruchel struggles as a straight man.

Glenn Howerton as Jim Balsillie in “BlackBerry.”
Credit: IFC Films

Between business meetings, battered contract negotiations, and downright screaming matches, Blackberry more interested in Mike’s battle for his soul than the story of the phone. Johnson portrays himself and his guiltless enthusiasm as the clumsy angel on Mike’s shoulder, while Howerton is a capitalist demon. Both give performances that turn the cobwebs of prestigious biopics into something funnier and more violent. for a long time Sunny fan, Howerton’s bangs alone Blackberry worth watching. Unfortunately, Baruchel in the center is incompetent.

A comedic actor who makes his mark by playing cute dorks is oddly cast as a docile introvert who mutters and gets emotional with a boringly suppressed expression. Baruchel puts his serious, cheerful smile aside as he plays, and shoulders a tough physicality that speaks to Mike’s internalized struggle. However, he never quite fits his role, feeling like an obstacle in the middle of the fighting dragons. Without piercing words or plucking, Baruchel disappears. And since his character has emotional interests in the movie, Blackberry never come together.

As a filmmaker, Johnson’s energy is contagious. Prior to the SXSW premiere, she took to the stage in Doug’s costume and excitedly chatted with audiences about cuts to the film since its World Premiere at the Berlinale.(Opens in a new tab) Overcoming its vaguely chaotic vibrations Blackberry Shocking pacing with racing in the plot, montages and archival footage aided by snap-on ready-made characters. For example, Michael Ironside crackles up as a business bully, while Rich Sommer shrugs warmly as the humble but intelligent nerd.

Even if you don’t know the story behind it Blackberrybased on the book Losing the Signal Written by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, you can well guess at it, as tech icons in movies rarely have Hollywood happy endings. As such, Johnson doesn’t waste time wisely, moving quickly—if not quite gracefully—on plot points, resting occasionally to savor the character moments and revealing, one of which is applause from the tech-savvy SXSW audience.

While it’s been a bumpy ride at times, Johnson brings plenty of serious nostalgia for this era to the film, with a soundtrack boasting Joy Division, Moby, and Mark Morrison.(Opens in a new tab)as well as prop elements like Ninja Turtles II Cathartic clicking of keys on VHS and, of course, the title device. Overall, the ride is more rounded than rocky. While not among the most sickening comedies of this year, Blackberry manages to find the heartbreaking humor of this true story by offering a simple yet satisfying ending.

Blackberry Made its World Premiere at SXSW 2023; This will be followed by a theatrical screening on 12 May.

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