‘WeCrashed’ review: Why WeWork didn’t work

Jared Leto as Adam Neumann and Anne Hathaway as Rebekah Neumann in “WeCrashed”


Photo:

AppleTV+

This factual basis saga leaves no doubt as to why businesses fail. WeWork startup co-founder Adam Neumann (Jared Leto) watched this pioneering coworking company reach a colossal valuation of $47 billion in 2019 and then proceed into a calamitous decline, the causes why ” WeCrashed” (begins Friday, with three of its eight episodes, on Apple TV+) regularly suggests – incapacity, poor judgment and excess of all kinds among them. But not all is loss and struggle in this tale – based on the podcast of the same name – carried by its unflinching energy and, above all, the distinguished performances of Mr. Leto and Anne Hathaway, as Rebekah, Adam’s wife. and business partner. Both inhabit their characters so convincingly, relate to each other – and to the world – so believable that it becomes impossible not to feel the depth of their connection.

That’s no small feat in a story filled with posturing and role-playing – what are the puffed-up Monday celebrations and associated cheerleading drills from obedient employees we encounter throughout this series?

We crashed

Starts Friday, Apple TV+

Adam, who describes himself as a serial entrepreneur, had tried his hand early in his career selling pads to protect babies’ tender knees – and there was also the shoe whose stiletto heel could be folded down for extra comfort , which found no takers either. He does, however, have one asset that is recognizable to everyone he talks to: namely, an inexhaustible reserve of pride and a belief in the possibilities of good, of betterment, that he can bring to the world. When looking for investors – he lectures to students among other audiences – he hears a joke about the possibility of investing in his trust. And that is the state of his life and career when he first meets Rebekah, who is unimpressed with him and unwilling to hide it.

Ruthless in her assessment—this is the first hint of the compelling character Mrs. Hathaway is about to deliver—she informs him that everything he tells her is a lie. He then shows up at a supermarket in his neighborhood, away from home, pretending to be grocery shopping. She points out, not without contempt, that he does his shopping 70 blocks from his house. It doesn’t help that his food purchase is a single banana. None of this will stand in the way of Adam’s efforts to win Rebecca over.

It should not be thought either that the authors of this sharp scenario entirely neglect the delusions caressed by these two central characters.

All in all, a gripping tale whose drama grows ever greater, especially in the tension-filled final chapters.

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the March 18, 2022 print edition as “Why WeWork Didn’t Work”.