According to "When Strangers Click: Five Stories from the Internet," 22 percent of heterosexual couples today met online. The one-hour documentary from director Robert Kenner ("Food Inc.") looks at a quintet of tales of love and lust via the web.
Kim, a longtime divorcée, falls in love with a guy in the Czech Republic who can't even speak English. Ryan, a gay man born to an ultraconservative Christian family, has an online chat that leads to an all-out national political scandal. Andy is a 47-year-old man who has never been on a date. (The review copy was partially damaged, so my DVD player skipped over one story.)
The craziest story comes at the end, in which a failed, middle-aged Swedish businessman who lives on a secluded island with his mom becomes a rock star on the Second Life website. That people waste so much time on this avatar-driven pretend land strikes me as amazing, not to mention that they'll willingly blow $500 to have their avatars marry.
The extras include a bonus story about a so-called "Cyber Cyrano," a hired gun to do the online-dating dirty work for you. Like the rest of the documentary, it's a passably interesting bit, if not exactly deep. "When Strangers Click" sounds menacing, but is anything but. This isn't up to HBO's usual standards, and yet its compact running time all but ensures it won't bore, either. If anything, it succeeds at making me further thankful for being happily married so I don't have to deal with all this Match.com-type crap. Rod Lott