A hand-held device and the end of nerd culture

IFC Films/Tribune News Service Jay Baruchel, left, and Glenn Howerton in “BlackBerry.”

“BlackBerry” doesn’t mark the first time a feature film has dealt with the actual business world, although it’s hard to imagine a more inventive use of director Matt Johnson’s reality-blurring mockumentary approach to tell a strong story about the rise and fall of a tiny computer that made big money for greedy men and in a larger perspective, a poignant tale about the end of innocence for both entrepreneurship and geek culture.

In 1996, nerdy tech wizard Mike Laziridis (Jay Baruchel), a studious young man with a permanent stoop and prematurely gray hair, and his friend and business partner Doug Fregin (Johnson, who co-wrote the script with Matthew Miller), who wears a headband, T-shirt and shorts and quotes lines of dialogue from movies, hatch an idea to combine email, internet and pager into a single small hand-held device they’ve named PocketLink.

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