Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ugh, 'The Bling Ring' is here to remind you that teenagers love selfies and #YOLO

The Bling Ring opens with grainy security camera footage of a gaggle of teenagers hopping a fence and robbing someone.

Ugh, 'The Bling Ring' is here to remind you that teenagers love selfies and #YOLO

Image via The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring opens with grainy security camera footage of a gaggle of teenagers hopping a fence and robbing someone. The night vision was a nice touch considering that the film is about Millennial punks robbing a pseudo celebrity who's best known for a "leaked" sex tape shot in the same style.

Soon after, we're introduced to Marc (Israel Broussard), the new kid at an L.A. area high school for dropouts and burnouts. He links up with Rebecca (Katie Chang) and her glam-trash version of The Plastics, comprised of Nicki (Emma Watson), Chloe (Claire Julien) and Sam (Taissa Farmiga).

Rebecca and Marc start to earn their B&E chops by raiding cars outside ritzy neighborhood parties and dropping by to check-in on a "friend" while he's out of town. Eventually, they decide to get things turnt up and find themselves playing a highly illegal game of dress-up at Paris Hilton's pad. Rebecca gives her cronies a call and suddenly it's all, "get in losers, we're going robbing."

The rest of the film should have been a two-minute montage, but drags on for what feels like an eternity. Teenagers doing drugs. Teenagers rapping along with their favorite songs. Teenagers driving around in expensive cars. Teenagers playing dress-up and robbing celebrities. Teenagers doing drugs and rapping along with their favorite songs while driving expensive cars to go play dress-up and rob celebrities.

Coppola glosses over the circumstances and relationships in Marc, Rebecca, and Nicki's world, but doesn't draw the audience in. The time jumps to the kids answering questions for a reporter from Vanity Fair add little to the depth of the characters. These brats should make the audience want to holler "GET OFF MY LAWN!" in unison. Instead, the spoiled posse hardly elicits an exasperated sigh or an eye roll.

Back when Spring Breakers came out, I lampooned it as Mouseketeer porn and pushed it aside as I read ahead of the class in anticipation of Sofia Coppola's forthcoming The Bling Ring. As it turns out, Spring Breakers may have been a gratuitous, #YOLO neck tattoo of a film, but, after seeing The Bling Ring, Harmony Korine's repetitive vulgarity feels significantly more decisive and efficient. Spring Breakers fell far short of perfect, but The Bling Ring manages to nestle between Korine's film and the wrong end of that spectrum.

On a scale of Gigli to Lost in Translation, The Bling Ring is a tedious 3. If you insist on spending 90 minutes watching super rich kids play dress-up and post selfies to Instagram, there's always Friday night at the King of Prussia Mall.

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