I consider Google-ing myself to be a fairly egocentric activity. For the most part, when I type in “Mark Bell,” I could give a rat’s a*s what that NHL miscreant with the same name is doing, or how many albums Bjork’s producing pal has worked on lately. Nope, I care about what the world thinks of me, if anything at all (apparently the world finds me sexy, but I digress). For Jim Killeen, however, the act of Google-ing his name took on a much larger life as he stepped out of the normal Google self-search solipsistic bubble and decided to find out as much as he could about all the other people out there who shared his name.
And that is the premise behind “Google Me,” Killeen’s documentary of same name discovery. Jim contacts, tracks and eventually visits six other Jim Killeens the world over. His journey takes him from Scotland to St. Louis, New York City to Australia, and the Jims he meets run the personality gamut from an ex-cop to Irish priest, sexy swinging tranny-chaser to father of eight.
As a documentary, you’re not going to learn much about anyone or anything but the various Jim Killeens, but the undercurrent of the film is the power of a name, and the ability of the internet to allow people the world over to connect (for better or worse). I guess you could call it a character study, more about listening to the stories of a small group of people who seemingly only have a name in common.
As a doc subject, the main Jim Killeen is personable enough, and not surprisingly an actor from Los Angeles. In that way, he comes from the Morgan Spurlock school of documentary, which is “come up with an interesting premise you personally can test out, and film yourself.” Or course, it’s the logical extension of a premise that starts with Google-ing yourself to then, you know, film yourself but, unlike Spurlock, Killeen isn’t hunting Osama bin Laden or pointing out the dangers of McDonald’s, he’s just talking to other people named Jim Killeen.
Well, kind of. About an hour in, the film focuses on our star/narrator Jim Killeen as he tells his life story. And it is a unique story at that, but feels, at first, to be a bit too self-serving. Then again, as I pointed out earlier, this film did originate from a self-Google so it is not surprising that the focus would become Los Angeles Jim Killeen-centric. Smartly, however, this sequence is no longer than any of the others and doesn’t derail anything that came before it (or is still to come).
At the end of the day, “Google Me” is straight-up entertainment. You’re not going to learn anything particularly life-changing, but you will get to hear a bunch of interesting stories delivered in a fairly entertaining manner. In other words, if you’re a study of people, or like your documentaries pretty innocuous, “Google Me” is right up your alley.