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Google Me
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by brianorndorf

"There be family in them thar search results"
4 stars

Have you ever Googled yourself? One of the more entertaining narcissistic pastimes of a slow workday, the trail of information your name leaves behind is practically a scientific experiment waiting to be explored, revealing unexpected passages of history and identity. For struggling actor Jim Killeen, the iconic search engine opened a psychological door that he couldn’t ignore.

While Googling himself, Killeen wondered about the men he was finding who shared his name. What was their story? What kind of Jim Killeen were they? Scraping together a small budget and a camera crew, Killeen set out to meet these gentlemen, searching for connection in our disconnected age, and molding the end result of his peculiar adventuring into the charming documentary, “Google Me.”

A nicely felt, easygoing piece of infotainment, “Google Me” finds a fresh perspective on the well-worn subject of online navel-gazing. Killeen is emboldened by his search results, pushing him to consider maturity and take on the impossible task of making a movie. That being said, Killeen is no novice in front of the camera, and if there’s one quality of “Google Me” that might have you reaching for the stop button, it’s the shticky, camera-aware quality of Killeen’s performance. It’s all executed in the name of admirable exuberance, but a little of Killeen’s “Look Ma, I’m puttin’ on a show!” polish goes a long way.

So who does Killeen meet from his Googling efforts? Well, there’s an Irish priest who enjoys pubs and biblical wisdom; a retired NY cop who’s genuinely hesitant of Killeen’s intentions with this documentary; a Denver swinger with skeletons in his closet; a St. Louis salesman with airtight Christian values and a horde of kids; a wonderfully affable Australian social worker with a penchant for beer and local football; and a shy Scottish road engineer. These are all Jim Killeens spread out over the globe, each sharing their story to help the filmmaker confront his own past.

“Google Me” is a tremendous amount of fun once Killeen starts visiting Killeens. Mixing the entertainment value of culture shock with the mystery of who Killeen will meet next, the picture ambles along nicely, uncovering production hiccups and successes (including poker tournament fundraising) with a breezy presentation. It’s a likable film with earnest intentions to explore the global village and probe these men for spiritual discussion, with Killeen asking the Killeens the ultimate question: “What is man’s purpose?”

For Killeen, “Google Me” is a chance to face his own shattered past. Making himself the final chapter of the journey, Killeen uses the doc to purge his personal demons, taking the lighthearted picture into serious dramatic realms that might disorient some viewers. However, I was rather fond of this direct fingerprint applied to the movie, as it gives the experience a little more edge than jokes about priests “having the crack” and Denver Killeen’s sexual adventures previously suggested.

Visiting Google headquarters and a family reunion of sorts in Killeen, Texas close out the “Google Me” checklist, ending the film on a hopeful note of connection and lifelong friendships forged. There’s even a “Maury-ish” DNA reveal to keep the suspense going. “Google Me” should by all accounts be forgettable fluff, but Jim Killeen’s passions always motivate the material, and this appealing documentary finds the right note of compassion to hold on. You’ll never look at endless search results the same way.

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originally posted: 05/03/08 02:37:07
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  25-Apr-2008 (NR)
  DVD: 01-Dec-2009



Directed by
  Jim Killeen

Written by

  Jim Killeen
  Jim Killeen
  Jim Killeen
  Jim Killeen
  Jim Killeen

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