He pulls in his buddy Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) as CFO, as Saverin is very good at finances. He then goes about designing the features that all Facebook users (including myself) are familiar with, like Relationship Status (which is the icing on the cake), and finally, putting it on the internet. With a little help from Eduardo's membership in the Phoenix club (thus having the email addresses of all the members to send the site to), the site outperforms what anyone thought it would, expanding across campuses and eventually reaching the eyes of ex-Napster founder and current paranoid creep Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who wants to get himself involved.
Imagine this already pretty complex plot (as Scott Foundas noted) funneled through 3 different narrative levels: (1) Mark's hearing when he's sued by the Winklevoss twins, (2) Mark's hearing when he's sued by Saverin, and (3) the time of Facebook's creation and inception into the culture. It must be said that however clunkily this first works, the film irons itself out and does this narrative structure pretty well.
This flashback/flashforward device is one of many ways that this film is similar to Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire." Another would be their good technical qualities ("Social"'s consisting of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's score and the tinted photography by Jeff Cronenweth). The most important, though, would be that these films would be very hard to continuously rewatch (just like, as Ebert said, Fincher's own "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which also has a similar build). "The Social Network" will also get pretty dated, which is a risk run by Fincher: to make it the "movie of the moment" (as I believe Peter Travers called it) or to make it a film that can outlast its release.
The film is well-acted, with Eisenberg possibly deserving a Best Actor nomination. Garfield also turns in some interesting work, as he goes from angry to scared surprisingly in an instance over the course of two scenes. Timberlake is pretty good as well, but his performance (as the man who may have somewhat screwed him over early into his music career) sometimes drifts into that "Justin zone" that works on Saturday Night Live but not here. I do appreciate moments of the club scene, where he describes the birth of Victoria's Secret (as well as Napster), while Zuckerberg sits puzzled. The film's sort of under-treatment of Parker's womanizing of the underaged is disturbingly offhand.
The screenplay, by Aaron Sorkin, is witty almost to a fault. Every line is a zinger, and although most of them are funny, when they don't work, they really don't work. And just about every character in the film has a dramatic exit, which is a little annoying. The film also ends in a somewhat disappointing way, although I perfectly understand it. I just was so captivated by the film that the sort of minor ending that they chose didn't help. On another note, it's an interesting thing to see the levels at which Ben Mezrich's books are adapted. Consider this film and Robert Luketic's "21." Similar subject matter and source material, yet one goes to the Oscars while the other one counts its cards. B