You'd have to be living in oblivion not to know what Craigslist is. Perhaps the most successful online community forum, the San Francisco--based site is the brainchild of fortysomething entrepreneur Craig Newmark. But don't go looking to this documentary for any insight into his personality or business philosophy. Instead, filmmaker Michael Ferris Gibson introduces us to a mlange of quirky folks who use the listings service for everything from job hunting to junk hawking and, of course, sex. Most appear onscreen to describe themselves and their ad, explaining what they like about Craigslist, while Gibson cuts between a mommy exercise class, a transsexual rock concert, a diabetic-cat support group and other Web-organized events.
For all its populist energy (e.g., footage of a flash mob wreaking havoc in a swank hotel) and intermittently interesting talking heads, 24 Hours doesn't amount to much more than an amateurishly shot, feature-length video advert for the titular company. Even the intertitles (jobs, pets, m4m) correspond to Craigslist categories, and are matched with grab shots of the actual website. With the interviewees functioning mainly as cheerleaders and a complete absence of commentary from Newmark, social psychologists or experts of any kind, the filmmaker missed a golden opportunity to probe the Craigslist phenomenon from a deeper critical perspective. Barring some late, bare-bones reflection on anonymity and virtual identity, Gibson's doc makes for fairly shallow viewing. (Opens Thu; Pioneer.)—Damon Smith