Start-up comedy is a mixed bag
It’s not easy starting a company from scratch. It’s even harder to keep that going and turn it into a successful endeavour. Any entrepreneur will tell you it takes perseverance, hard work, determination and a tiny bit of luck to succeed. In fact, statistics will tell you that about 90% of start-ups fails. Out of those, 10% will fail in the first year.
With this in mind, Bankrolled takes that idea and spins it into a goofy slapstick comedy, leaning in hard on the satire but forgetting to bring a compelling story along for the ride. The plot points here are predictable, with a loose romance tied along for the ride.
At the center of this are hopeful entrepreneurs Polo and Blas. They have big dreams of making it in business but aren’t sure what direction to take. Well, what they do take are drugs, and one evening end up recording a video, pitching a bold new social justice app called SignNow. It’s a hit.
Not only does it raise millions, it also catapults the pair into the spotlight at the forefront of the tech scene. The only trouble is, they don’t remember recording the video and don’t have an app either.
Step forward Bankrolled, a crowdfunding platform that team up with the pair and try to make this app a reality. From here, the pair do their best to bring this vision to life. But will their deception be their undoing?
Bankrolled’s story is pretty formulaic but it does well to satirize large parts of start-up culture. Everything from TedTalks to investors are poked fun at, but the movie blends this clever form of comedy with low-brow crudeness that undermine these smarts.
This gives the film a much less balanced feel, with supporting characters like Mayte given nothing to work with beyond sexual innuendos and jokes. In fact, most of the supporting players are quite one-note, including fitness obsessed Sandra and the sleazy drug-taking investor that Polo and Blas meet.
Thankfully, our two leads do have pretty good chemistry on-screen together and that at least helps to elevate their scenes. The usual fall-out and disagreements ensue between the pair, leading to a rather rushed and indifferent ending. It also doesn’t help that the movie takes its satire one step too far with an awkwardly crowbarred message about social media at the end. While important, it’s not really needed – satire speaks for itself.
Alongside this is that aforementioned romantic subplot that really doesn’t work. It feels awkwardly shoved into this film and in the end, fizzles out and ends up as a half-baked component of this movie.
Overall, Bankrolled attempts to spin many plates and only manages to keep a few of them spinning by the end. While predictable, the story does its job while the satirical elements are a mixed bag of excellent and so-so. The romantic subplot and supporting characters are woefully underdeveloped though, while the comedy is a bit hit or miss. It’s not a bad film per-se, but it does feel quite directionless at times.