‘Hummingbird Project’ review: Jesse Eisenberg is no basic cable guy
It’s reliably entertaining to see Jesse Eisenberg doing what he does best, playing a neurotic, fast-talking overachiever.
In “The Hummingbird Project,” he’s Vincent, who works in the world of “high-frequency trading” and aims to construct the fastest possible fiber-optic pipeline from Kansas to the East Coast to beat the Wall Street competition by milliseconds and make millions.
Alexander Skarsgard co-stars, burying his glam under a balding wig and thick glasses as Vincent’s tech-savvy cousin Anton; his laserlike, possibly autistic focus on the details will be key to their success.
But is it success we’ll root for, or even stay interested in? Yes and no.
Canadian director Kim Nguyen (“War Witch”) also wrote the screenplay, and while its banter keeps the scenes moving along briskly, Vinny talks in that scammy “we’re all going to be millionaires” way you’ve seen in umpteen other finance sagas. He pitches the project as being a way for the little guy to “bring Goliath down to his f - - king knees,” yet exhibits no evidence of being pro-anybody but himself, his cousin and money.
Salma Hayek, as their vengeful ex-boss Eva Torres, is fun to watch as she plots to outwit them time and again, but ultimately, there’s no one here to really care about.
The most interesting aspect of “The Hummingbird Project” is when it gets out of the boardroom and into the elements; Vinny claims he can lay cable in a stick-straight line across half the country, using an investor’s money to literally bulldoze his way through stubborn homeowners and national parks with the help of a shady builder (Michael Mando of “Better Call Saul”).
But they meet their match on Amish land, where the residents not only don’t want to sign a contract, they look downright horrified at Vinny’s description of sped-up money-making. Appalachia spits a geyser of water back at them as they attempt to drill through a mountain in search of that elusive one-millisecond advantage.
And even Vinny’s own body ultimately rebels against him — his illness is a glaring metaphor for cancer of the American dream.