Published Apr 28, 2011From what I gather, the unearned, supercilious tone of Recessionize comes from the perspective of padded, liberal, neo-Marxist idealism, from the camp of privilege and trendy aloofness associated with the well-adjusted middle-class. It's a populist perspective common in urban locales, smugly mocking a capitalist ideologue while reaping the rewards of a social economy, which is perfectly fine given the ubiquity of that attitude, but it works better if done with a bit of ire and wit, two things this superficial documentary is seriously lacking.
Told in 15 steps, with dividing title cards, Jamie Kastner's snarky mockery of the current state of the economy juxtaposes present day business priority shifts with informational titbits from the Great Depression, suggesting that our current plight is a lot of hullabaloo over nothing. The examples of said priority shifts are found throughout the U.S. and Europe, where various entrepreneurs and business professionals have modified their strategies based on the shift in public demand.
It starts out fairly enough, detailing a "millionaire school" run by an egregious, crass Republican bitch who tells children that people with money are special and better than others, driving home the notion that life isn't worth living without superfluous crap. He actually holds back from flat-out insulting her, instead limiting coverage to a couple of smug remarks and interviews with students that clearly haven't learned anything worthwhile.
Later interviews find Kastner struggling to maintain his tone, talking to a plastic surgeon about discounted boob jobs and a woman that touts around a herd of goats to various dilapidated sites to eat decaying brush. His condescension isn't always warranted or flattering, often going the route of cheesy one-liners that lack insight or context. And because his voice seems to suggest that all business enterprises are stupid, or that people are opportunistic, it's hard to appreciate or even link his choice of interview subjects, given that it's all exceedingly arbitrary and connected by a purveying, unrefined ideologue.
Perhaps a little bit of focus or a mature, balanced detailing of fewer subjects and "Recessionize steps" might have honed this blasé documentary into something clever and compelling. As it stands, this is forgettable, puerile pap. (Cave 7)