UNDER THE INFLUENCE
(director: Casey Neistat; screenwriter: Mark Monroe; cinematographer: Casey Neistat; editors: James Leche, Scott D. Hanson; music:Matthew Simpson; cast: David Dobrik, Kat Tenbarge, Jeff Wittek, Josh Peck, Lexie Violett, Dom Zeglaitis; Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Christine Vachon, Casey Neistat, Mason Plotts: Killer Films; 2022)
“Never warmed up to the vlogger’s shtick.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Casey Neistat is an elder millennial friend of the subject, and is also a YouTube vlogger. His documentary is on the 20-something David Dobrik, a social media celebrity. Dobrik, known for his “Vlog Squad,” is considered the world’s most famous video blogger, someone who has plowed through a scandal-riddled career by pulling stupid frat boy stunts and nastier “Jackass”-style internet pranks that has enticed the YouTube crowd.
The tasteless Dobrik’s popularity on YouTube became a source of scandal mainly due to two parallel controversies — one involving a sexual assault accusation against one of his friends/collaborators that was dropped in 2020 (as written about in a New Yorker piece by Kat Tenbarge) and another involving a stunt gone violently wrong (it nearly killed a member of his crew).
There’s clips of him on various college campuses, on the Jimmy Fallon TV show and an intimate interview between Neistat and Dobrik (who boasts of 18.3 million subscribers) that meant little to me, since I never warmed up to the vlogger’s shtick.
If this is supposed to be a probing documentary on a fun guy gone awry it lacks the critical distancing necessary to make it work. The effort is not there to carry out any real probes and the subject is not ready to own up to his foul deeds as he only lives for how many clicks he gets.
REVIEWED ON 5/3/2022 GRADE: C