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Sundance Review: "Me @ the Zoo"

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"Me @ the Zoo"

** (Two stars)

U.S. Documentary Competition

It must have been hell raising Chris Crocker, the world's first YouTube star who was known for his lively "Leave Britney Alone!" video rant that became the target of national mockery. The flamboyant gay Tennessee Internet sensation was then a teen acting out on home-grown videos that became viral long before we ever heard of "Annoying Orange" or Philip DeFranco. And so with "Me @ the Zoo," a grating examination of Crocker's Internet life as well as the cultural impact of Internet celebrity, we find that a little Crocker goes a long way. So much is shown of his usually glam-slam, in-your-face personality, that his loud and sometimes obnoxious persona overwhelms your senses. Instead, I yearned to learn more about what Crocker was really like inside, and "Zoo" fails to shed light on the sincere side of Crocker or the personal journey of his trials as a gay teen living in a redneck Tennessee town. And as a documentary on the evolution of how the Internet killed the video star, "Zoo" also failed to keep up with the times. Instead, it showed us what anyone who has spent time on YouTube already knows - that anyone can pick up a camera and become the next Internet sensation.

- Vince Horiuchi

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