Bling Ring a Shiny Package with Nothing of Value Inside
- Friday, June 21, 2013
Release Date: June 21, 2013
Rating: R for teen drug and alcohol use, and for language including some brief sexual references
Genre: Crime, Drama
Run Time: 87 minutes
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Pfister, Leslie Mann
Before the screening, a representative for The Bling Ring told the audience the film was 87 minutes long. You could have fooled me; it felt like a lifetime before credits rolled. A painfully slow pace, a story arc that didn’t, and a "plot" that focused on celebrity-worshiping, amoral, self-obsessed teens behaving like idiots add up to a massive waste of time.
Sadly, The Bling Ring is based on a true story. A group of California teens really did break into celebrities' houses to steal stuff and pretend they own the glamorous Hollywood lifestyles of their victims (side note: it's hard to feel too sorry for the victims, considering they wandered off to New York or Miami leaving their doors unlocked or the key under their mat. All that money and they can't afford a security system? But still). Caught up in the ecstasy of pawing through someone else's treasures, one of the young thieves exclaims, "This is sick!" How right she was.
Writer/director Sofia Coppola (Somewhere) said "finding a way to make the characters relatable and sympathetic—this was very challenging." No kidding. Unfortunately, Ms. Coppola wasn't up to the challenge. There isn't a single likable character in the film; when one hopped-up little idiot was waving a loaded gun around I found myself actually hoping she'd shoot someone (preferably herself). See what I mean? This film is such a bad influence it even incites mild-mannered reviewers to crave violence.
The character we’re supposed to care about is Mark (Israel Broussard), described as "the moral center" of the group. If by "moral center" they mean occasionally suggesting leaving the scene of the crime before immediately caving to the contemptuous commands of ringleader Rebecca (Katie Chang), then maybe that's true. He's a pretty squishy moral center and such a nonentity of a character he's practically invisible. Then there’s Nicki, played by Emma Watson (Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter films) of all people. She said the role "gave me permission to do loads of crazy stuff" which may be true, but her self-absorbed character was an irritation to watch (kudos on the valley girl accent, though). Nicki's erstwhile adopted sister Sam (Taissa Farmiga) and hedonistic wild-child Chloe (Claire Pfister) round out the gang, but they're all pretty interchangeable.
Even more annoying than the teens were their parents. Nicki's mother (Leslie Mann, This is 40) is a devout follower of beliefs espoused in the book The Secret who homeschools her girls by asking them to expound on the glory of Angelina Jolie. Mark's dad is so willfully clueless he stands twenty-four inches from a rising curl of pot smoke and never bats an eye. These are parents who don't have a clue what their children are up to and apparently don't much care, which goes a long way toward explaining the teens' actions.
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