Keanu Reeves was funny in Bill and Ted. However, tragically since then, he was attacked by a Dementor in about 1995, which removed his soul, and just about every movie he’s played in as starred him as a robotic, lifeless, empty shell of a man. Sometimes this works, and his monotone pays off, as it did in the Matrix. However, we as an audience mistook this for acting ability and it took us a while to realize that this just is how he is. The pinnacle of this was reached with The Day The Earth Stood Still, where he literally had to play a lifeless alien devoid of human compassion or understanding. Good casting. And here he is in a pointless exercise about exploring the human condition of hedonistic yuppies, and frankly, I felt almost physically ill throughout this pointless excuse for a movie.
Reeves stars as the morose, detached and cynical driver for an escort service, and the first part of the movie concerns itself with him picking up two of the girls from their latest job and having his character talk about issues of life with them. This could have been a moment to explore the nature of a person who glamourizes and then sells themselves as a product for consumption. However, no, the two women are just as vapid and uninteresting as they are on the surface, and we are treated to many minutes of them staring in mirrors as they do their makeup or some such.
The second part of Generation Um is when Reeve’s character finds a camera and decides to document his life, including his job. He fills this time up with extended sequences of such activities as going into a store, filming a squirrel, and so on. The DVD box promises a travel through the world of sex and drugs and partying, and I have never found those topics portrayed as being so boring as they are in this movie.
In summary, the characters are detestable, the plot is pointless, each scene is drawn out at least 5 minutes too long, and you’ll want to bang your head against the wall by the end of it. Maybe this was the intention of the director; for the film to be some sort of new-wave art project about nihilism, but as a film, it’s truly awful, in a very soul sucking way.