Should Have Focused on Herbalife's Victims, Not Ackman
I've been interested in multi-level marketing (MLM), AKA legal pyramid schemes, for a while now, so when I heard about this film I knew I needed to watch it. There's a lot to like about it, but there's also a lot to hate. I would have loved for it to focus more on Herbalife itself and its victims. There's a decent amount of information about Herbalife (which is nothing but despicable) and a kind of sub-plot about a group of Latino immigrants who are trying to sue the company for taking advantage of their community. There would probably be more than enough going on there to make for a decent documentary, but instead it focuses too much on the stereotypical "wolf of Wall Street" opportunist (oh wait, my mistake,"activist investor") Bill Ackman and his bid to get rich(er) off of ruining Herbalife's stock. It's clear to me that he's just a sociopath himself who doesn't really care about Herbalife's victims at all, but just sees a situation to exploit for his own financial gain. On one level, I get it. It makes for a very juicy story and everybody wants a "hero" to root for. However, I would rather that hero to have been the actual underdog here, Herbalife's victims. I do think that there is a valuable lesson in the childish quibble between Ackman and his nemesis, fellow Wall Street scum Carl Icahn, about why using the stock market as an indicator of how the economy is doing is basically meaningless for the average person: in reality it's little more than a playground for the ultra-rich, men who are so out of touch with reality or basic human empathy that they put their own egos (oh, and money, did I mention money?) above everything else. It's well-made and will surely keep you entertained, but ultimately it feels hollow and left me hoping for a better documentary about MLM itself, not ego-measuring contests between reprehensible "activist investors".
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