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By Michael Dequina | June 28, 2002

By the time you read this, this film’s theatrical run will have already come to a close after a whopping five days on two screens with nonexistent promotion. Watching this loose adaptation of Po Bronson’s novel of the same name, it’s no mystery why Fox wants to fulfill its bare minimum theatrical release obligations before sweeping it under the rug and into video store oblivion.
The story, in which a group of outcast computer engineers led by a former marketing guy (Adam Garcia) attempt to make a $99 laptop, could have made for a smart satire of Silicon Valley (and for all I know the novel and the original script by Jon Favreau could have been exactly that) but instead the bevy of rewriters (primarily Gary Tieche, who shares final screen credit with Favreau) and director Mick Jackson have made an unfunny farce full of lame and insanely tired techie nerd jokes. The “underdog against the evil corporate establishment” story also doesn’t take hold, what with its implausible twists, unsympathetic cast of computer geek caricatures (played by Ethan Suplee, Anjul Nigam, and a characteristically overwrought Jake Busey), and the charisma vacuum that is Garcia in the lead. The only element commanding the slight bit of attention is the always-watchable Rosario Dawson, but her talent and presence is wasted as the token love interest for Garcia. Making twenty dollars, let alone twenty million of them, let alone a *first* twenty million of them, will be quite the difficult task for this turkey, even when consigned to bargain basement video rental bins.

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