SXSW 2022: ‘WeCrashed’ Will Test Your Patience For Con Artist Tales

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WeCrashed

WeCrashed is an Apple TV+ Original Series created by Lee Eisenberg and Drew Crevello, based on the podcast of the same name by Wondery. The pilot episode begins with Adam Neumann (Jared Leto) and his wife Rebekah (Anne Hathaway) being called for an emergency meeting as their company WeWork is about to go under. The majority of the episode consists of a series of flashbacks that feature the creation of WeWork, alongside the beginnings of Adam and Rebekah’s relationship.

This is the latest series to focus on the rise and fall of a significant figure in the business world, and as a result, viewers will probably be more than able to predict the series’ beats. The protagonist rises from rags to riches. They grow to have complete and utter disregard for anyone below them. They eventually fall from grace (coupled with an ousting from the company they formed and/or jail time). If you’ve seen Inventing Anna or The Tinder Swindler on Netflix, The Dropout on Hulu, or Super Pumped on Showtime, WeCrashed brings nothing new to the table.

There’s also the matter of Leto’s performance as Neumann, which I can only describe as what would happen if Tommy Wiseau and Gal Gadot had a child together. His accent feels incredibly ghoulish and fake — even more so than the Italian accent he adopted for House of Gucci. He constantly gestures with his hands, which starts off as impassioned and eventually delves into unintentionally comedic. And in perhaps the most bizarre decision, he sports a fake prosthetic nose to make him look more like the real-life Neumann. Compared to Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Super Pumped and Amanda Seyfried in The Dropout, Leto comes off as a trying-way-too-hard theater kid.

He significantly pales in comparison to Hathaway, who plays Rebekah as the ‘brains’ behind WeWork. Throughout the pilot, scenes feature Rebekah calling Neumann out on his B.S., convincing him to go to investors for WeWork, and even calling their layers by episode’s end to keep a hold on their empire. “You’re a supernova,” she tells Neumann repeatedly, a phrase which no doubt fueled his ego and led to the destructive culture at WeWork. It’s some real Lady Macbeth behavior, and it makes me wish the series was solely focused on Rebekah.

Directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra attempt to bring the same criss-crossing narrative that they did to This Is Us, with mixed results. On the one hand, I did enjoy the beginning and ending scenes bookending the rise of WeWork with its eventual fall. On the other hand, there’s a literal fast-forward scene when Neumann and his partner Miguel McKelvey (Kyle Marvin) find the eventual offices for WeWork. Similar jumps in time concerning the Neumanns’ relationship feel extremely disorienting; it feels like the writers and directors are trying to leap-frog to the eventual drama instead of building up to it.

WeCrashed trods a more than a well-worn path, as Apple TV+ joins the list of streamers eager to capitalize on the con artist trend. Mileage will vary, particularly where Leto is concerned, so I would at least recommend watching the pilot so that you can get a feel of whether this series is or isn’t up your alley.

The pilot of WeCrashed premiered at SXSW. The first three episodes will be available to stream on Apple TV+ on March 18, 2022, with new episodes premiering every Friday.


WeCrashed
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    Rating - 5/10
5/10

TL;DR

WeCrashed trods a more than a well-worn path, as Apple TV+ joins the list of streamers eager to capitalize on the con artist trend. Mileage will vary, particularly where Leto is concerned, so I would at least recommend watching the pilot so that you can get a feel of whether this series is or isn’t up your alley.