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Movie Review: Catfish

Alternate Title: Wanna Be My Friend?

Story: Is this film a documentary, is it based on some true events or is it totally fictional? I am voting for all of the above. In the it can happen to you mode of cinema, young New York City film maker Yaniv Schulman, starts a seemingly innocent facebook relationship with Abby, an eight year old painting prodigy, who lives in rural Michigan. Or does he? I will not reveal any spoilers in this review but I will tell you that the first 45 minutes of this film are engrossing. It is hard to ignore the poor production values of the film. I am assuming that they were deliberate, not sloppy.

Yaniv's brother and another friend, directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost decide to film Yaniv's facebook journey. Through eight months of back and forth texts, phone calls and exchanges of paintings and photos, we meet Abby's family, including a cadre of older friends, her mother and 19 year old sister, Megan - or do we?

Kudos to these young film makers for boarding the pop culture train and earning some money with their efforts. We all know about those Nigerian Internet scams, but few of us realize that anyone can reinvent themselves on the Internet and gain a sense of power and popularity through the process. Caveat emptor.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFKe75Q6eVw

Acting: The question of whether this is a documentary or not looms over this category.

Trivia: If you want to watch the 20/20 TV interview with the film makers, (spoiler alerts) click here: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/catfish-woman-angela-wesselman-twisted-cyber-romance-abc/story?id=11831583 And for an interview with with Nev:

Predilection: I like to see films that have a lot of 'buzz.'

Critters: A barking dog.

Food: Pizza

Sex Spectrum: None

Blatant Product Placement: Canon, Oh Henry, Apple products including the iPhone and laptops.

Opening Titles: All credits at the end.

Visual Art: The paintings are marginal to amateurish.

Theater Audience: My pal Carol took me to the movies for a birthday present and we watched along with about 30 other people.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The character, Angela made me squirm.

Drift Factor: I started to look at my watch at the hours mark.

Predictability Level: Moderate.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Either would do and this is a perfect companion piece after seeing The Social Network.

Length: 90 minutes.