Due to a change in residences, I’ll be disconnected from the internet, so for a few weeks “Weekend Trailer Roundup” will be converted to “I Found a Wi-Fi Hotspot Trailer Roundup.” But there are still trailers to poke and prod, and the newest is Keanu Reeves’ latest film, Generation Um….
There’s a glimmer of hope early on in this one. When another character asks of Reeves, “how old are you anyway,” it almost seems like a jab at Reeves’ apparent agelessness, but that one line of dialogue is far and away the only clever thing to be found in the next minute and fourteen seconds. Every detail that follows has been cribbed from the handbook of generic indie films- the aimless protagonist (still receiving a colorful birthday card from his parents, no less), the similarly unhappy woman aggressively judging her appearance in a mirror, and the free-spirited, spontaneous act of taking a camera off the street and filming one’s friends with it.
The presence of all this overused material is bad enough, yet there is an extra layer of ugliness packaged into each trope. Generation Um… is clearly taking its cues from Greenberg, what with the older man attempting to inject some liveliness into his dull life via a relationship with a much younger woman, yet the conversations in the early part of the trailer imply something else entirely. Reeves’ character, despite his apparent lack of direction, is still a hot commodity and can seduce good-looking women at a moment’s notice. He seems just as competent a womanizer as the other young men he hangs around with, rather than being that leering, unwanted older guy who still hangs around in bars. This is also evidenced through the women he begins filming, both of which seem to have been pulled from the pages of a high-end fashion magazine.
The whole trailer hangs heavy with the weight of such a massive contradiction- Generation Um… wants to be a story about real, relatable people (who are all impossibly good-looking) going through real, relatable crises (despite being effortlessly competent and charming). There’s little else here to inspire any confidence or make the film seem at all enjoyable. All you’d really need to see to get the gist of this one is Keanu snatching up that poor sap’s camera: an average person would feel pity for someone losing an expensive piece of equipment; the cast of Generation Um… giggles as they sprint away, content in their own little fantasy world.