Saturday, May 13, 2023

BlackBerry - 3 Stars - May 12, 2023 - THEATERS

I faintly remember using a BlackBerry --- the mobile phone that sent texts and received e mail as well as made phone calls.  Maybe you remember.  The BlackBerry came with a small keyboard operated with your thumbs.  The keyboard clicked, like a typewriter keyboard only more new age style. I'd just begun working for channel 7 and they provided me with a cell --- so they could find me and I could find them.    Whatever phone Channel 7 gave me stopped working, and PRESTO!  I received my first iPhone as a corporate tool.  I never looked back. BlackBerry tells the somewhat hilarious and a little tragic story of the computer nerds who invented the BlackBerry, the shark who sells it, and the forces that made them miss Apple's coming dominance.  Jay Baruchel plays Mike Lazaridis, a brilliant nerdy computer engineer with poor communication skills.  Matt Johnson (who also directs) lays Doug Fregin, an equally brilliant engineer with a bit too much creative juice and a tendency to party rather than work.  The triangle completes with Glenn Howerton as Jim Balsillie, a hard driven corporate shark who pushes the envelope to dizzying heights, only to watch it crash like the Hindenburg.  I laughed out loud several times and gasped as the story unfolded.  BlackBerry stands alongside Air, the story of Nike shoes and Michael Jordan.  Except Air told a successful story.  BlackBerry tells a mammoth rise and fall.  Great fun.  Also a bummer.