Do you get strong feelings of dread when you think about attending business networking events? Me too! The Networker, directed by John Gallagher and written by Victor Ribaudo, explores the highs and lows of attending all of those awkward networking events.
From the film’s website: John Mangano, a nice guy whose partying lifestyle has taken precedence over his business life, works in the family’s failing printing firm. He is told by his irate father that he has three months to come up with a successful business plan, or the company will go bust and he’ll be out of a job. At the advice of Nicole, a pretty woman who works at the firm, John turns to networking – a skill at which he is absolutely inept. He begins to navigate a totally unknown world of frenetic networking meetings and events and meets a cast of hilarious characters. As John races the clock he experiences the ups and downs of generating new business, at times being elated at opportunities and at other times being plummeted into deep despair.
I had the opportunity to attend a screening of The Networker at Golden Door International Film Festival in Jersey City, NJ. Having interviewed the affable John Gallagher back in 2012 (you can see the interview here), I knew I had to see it.
I found The Networker to be such a likeable and engaging film. Perfectly cast and directed, I think anyone who has ever struggled with trying to meet people and drum up business opportunities would be able to relate. It felt very realistic with really interesting, natural performances from the actors. Starring Steve Stanulis, William Forsythe, Sean Young, Alysia Reiner, and Deborah Twiss, Stephen Baldwin also made a hilarious appearance as an eccentric business coach the main character John meets at a networking event. My absolute favorite character was David Finkelstein (played by Philip Moon). Asian in appearance, Mr. Finkelstein is constantly using Yiddish expressions and referring to his Judaism. Finally, the main character asks him the question we’ve all been thinking, and he reveals the obvious: that his parents adopted him. For some reason the whole Asian man being Jewish thing was hysterical to me, and Mr. Moon played the role with perfect timing.
John Gallagher has a knack for making films with very relatable characters, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him. I also hope that The Networker gets a wider release, as well as online distribution soon, so that more people can experience it, and also continue to cringe at the thought of networking and remember that they’re not the only one!