Latest Uber customer news: ‘Super Pumped’ review: Showtime’s slick series on the CEO of Uber really goes places

From Chicago Sun-Times:

In the closing moments of “The Social Network,” Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg tells Rashida Jones’ Marylin Delpy he’s not a bad guy, and before Marylin exits the room she says, quite kindly: “You’re not an ass—-, Mark. You’re just trying so hard to be.”

In the Showtime limited series “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Travis Kalanick doesn’t have to try to be an ass—- because that’s how he wakes up every morning and that’s how he conducts himself all day and he couldn’t hide it if he tried — and he’s not interested in trying. Travis is proud of the fact he’s a toxic human cocktail of brainpower, greed, insecurities, ambition and cutthroat ruthlessness, and he wants to see those same traits in his employees, even asking them, “Are you an ass—-?,” when they interview for a position with Uber.

Echoes of “The Social Network” reverberate throughout this slick, cool, darkly funny albeit somewhat superficial anthology, which was created by Brian Koppelman and David Levien (partners on “Rounders” and “Billions”) and is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Mike Isaac. With Gordon-Levitt careening about like a possessed version of the Energizer Bunny, outlasting and out-jerking everyone in his path, and marvelous supporting performances from Kyle Chandler, Uma Thurman, Kerry Bishé and Hank Azaria, this is a fictionalized and greatly stylized version of the Uber story, told in the same vein as the aforementioned “The Social Network” and films such as “The Big Short,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “I, Tonya.” We know a lot of this stuff is heightened reality, but the foundation is based on fact, and this is one wild ride(share).

“Super Pumped” kicks off in the early 2010s, before most of us had heard of Uber, with Gordon-Levitt’s Travis pitching Kyle Chandler’s Bill Gurley, a top investor with the venture capital firm Benchmark. (Chandler is squarely in his comfort zone playing the measured and ethically centered Gurley; imagine Coach Eric Taylor from “Friday Night Lights,” only with piles of money.) Gurley agrees to pump millions into Uber, despite his reservations about Travis’ hubris. From this point forward, Gurley will be the wise, paternal figure counseling caution and fair play, and while he’s often frustrated and at times outraged by Travis’ ethically dubious machinations, he’s got his “unicorn” and he knows Uber is going to be a global phenomenon.

Continue reading ‘Super Pumped’ review: Showtime’s slick series on the CEO of Uber really goes places on Chicago Sun-Times

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