Movie: THE BLING RING
Rating: R, teen drug and alcohol use, and for language
including some brief sexual references
Jeanne: It's not enough that this offensive group of immoral teenagers broke into celebrities' homes over a period of some months and robbed them, basically for the thrills and the goods, but now Sofia Coppola has chosen to bring this wretched tale of greed and unbridled selfishness to the big screen. Had she, at least, made some social commentary with her picture, perhaps "The Bling Ring" would have had a purpose. But, as it stands, this film is a complete waste of time.
In case you don't know the details, this "ring", consisting of four girls, Rebecca (Katie Chang), Nicki (Emma Watson), Chloe (Claire Julien), Sam (Taissa Farmiga), and one boy, Marc (Israel Broussard), used the internet to track the movements of stars like Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom and Paris Hilton. When they learned the stars wouldn't be home, they easily entered the residences and helped themselves to whatever they desired. Then this bored bunch of brats would party all night, drinking, dancing and snorting coke.
Honestly, why anyone would consider this entertainment is mind boggling. Coppola's film is an endless series of nothing more than these upper-middle-class children robbing and partying. It's mind-numbingly pathetic, except, of course, for the fabulous homes full of magnificent possessions and money.
Hilton's real mansion is used in the film, along with the pillows emblazoned with her image. Seriously, I realize this tragic character has a real need for celebrity and attention, but are you kidding me? The tranquility of her personal space was sullied by these creeps, and she's out promoting this film in LA and Cannes. Self-promotion has
no bounds, I suppose.
Chang, who is from our NorthShore area, and the gang, are quite good. I never said the acting is bad. It's the weak and tiresome script by Coppola and Nancy Jo Sales that torpedoes this movie. The one bright spot in this sorry attempt to indict our fame-obsessed culture is Leslie Mann playing Laurie, Nicki's kookie mother. Home-schooling her daughters in the "wisdom" of The Secret, this spiritual misfit has NO idea how screwed up her offspring really are, and Mann is absolutely ideal for this role.
Opinion: Don't Bother!
David: I'm not a great fan of Sofia Coppola's previous work as director, but with "The Bling Ring" she had an actual story on which to base her film. She makes it plausible, and her camera captures the essence of youthful obsession with celebrity status and worldly possessions. I can recommend the movie not because it's a great film, but because it realistically documents the arrogance and audacity of a group of misguided, selfish and spoiled teenagers.
"Let's go shopping!" is the mantra of this collection of social misfits, a young man and four girls. But their idea of shopping doesn't include any mall. They target celebrity homes by finding actual addresses on the internet, then time their illegal entry based on said stars being away on business or pleasure. The ringleader is Rebecca (Chicagoan Katie Chang). She befriends Marc (Israel Broussard), a new student at their "special" high school for underachievers and troublemakers.
Rebecca introduces Marc to her cronies in crime, Nicki (Emma Watson), Chloe (Claire Julien) and Sam (Taissa Farmiga). So suddenly Marc is thrust into a seemingly popular clique, and although he is the only quasi conscience of the quintet, he happily goes along with their sprees, even stealing a pair of high heeled shoes for himself, which casts some light on his sexual orientation.
Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan appear briefly in the film. They were actually victims of the real Bling Ring. Hilton's home, sumptuously appointed with all manner of glitz and glamour, including pillows with her likeness, paintings of herself everywhere, and enough shoes to make Imelda Marcos jealous, is a frequent target of the ring. Their pure glee when they discover jewelry, wads of cash and other treasures is revolting, and we can only hope they get what's coming to them.
SPOILER ALERT: What I liked best about Coppola's directing is her decision to get directly to the point after the group is arrested and tried in court. In mere minutes, we know what sentences were handed down. But the film stops short of revealing what ultimately happened to these people. Did they serve their whole prison terms? Were they required to pay back any or all of the stolen goods and money? Where are they now?
Emma Watson, with current roles in "The Bling Ring" and the raucous comedy "This Is The End", is turning her Harry Potter persona into a distant memory. Finally, "The Bling Ring" not so subtly pinpoints social media as a major contributor to the ring's demise. Being young, impetuous and not very bright, they can't resist posing on Facebook with their new-found riches dangling from their bodies. Duh??
Opinion: See It Now!