The Bling Ring (2013)

bling ringIMDb

This is the second movie we’ve watched that was based in part on a magazine article, which either signifies that a film idea can truly come from anywhere, or that Hollywood is really digging for new material. In the case of The Bling Ring, I think it’s the latter.

This movie is based on “The Suspects Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales, which I actually remember reading back when I still subscribed to Vanity Fair. It’s a fairly short read, but does a better job of digging into the psyche of these teens than the movie does. In fact, it’s one thing to read about bored, celebrity obsessed teens. It’s quite another to watch an entire film about them. The article is just long enough to be thought provoking, but it’s difficult to sustain interest in the subjects for more than thirty minutes.

The Bling Ring also fails in it’s indictment of material obsession. Yeah, these teens wind up in jail, but the film barely covers this. Instead, the viewer is treated to over a hour of expensive handbags, fashionable clothing, sparkly bling, and drug-fueled partying. It also portrays the targeted celebrities as idiots more than victims. Sure, it’s foolhardy to leave your keys under the mat or to not turn on your alarm system, but it’s also extremely frightening that the address and whereabouts of these people is so easy to ascertain. This aspect is completely ignored.

I didn’t exactly find myself approving of the teens’ actions, but parts of the film did make some it look kind of fun. It also led me to wonder which celebrity home I’d rob given the chance (Me: Ewan McGregor; I’d just smell his pillows and clothing. I’m fully aware how creepy that sounds. Ben: George Lucas; “He probably has some cool stuff.”).

I’m assuming this was not the point, right?

Rating: D

I bought this movie because I wanted to see what Emma Watson could do outside of the wizarding world of Harry Potter. I loved her performance in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it was one of my favourite films of 2012, and I was excited to see her follow up in this indie flick about a group of Los Angeles teenagers who steal from celebrities.

I was disappointed in this film though. It’s not the acting or Sophia Copolla’s direction, both are done well. It’s just that the story is not very good. The teen criminals are vapid and self absorbed. They are completely unlikable, which makes it very difficult to care about any of them.

The characters have no motivation for wanting to steal, except for the fact they are bored. This did not hold my attention at all. I had no interest in these obnoxious teens, and even less when it all blew up in their faces and the cops turned up on their doorstep.

I’m really curious to know who thought this would be an entertaining film? I understand that there was interest in this story and the celebrities that were involved, but who thought these kids were interesting enough to hold an audiences attention for 90 minutes. I had lost interest in these spoilt brats before they even reached Paris Hilton’s house to burgle it for the first time.

Emma Watson, and the director Sophia Copolla for that matter, deserve better than this tribute to teenagers who think life owes them a free ride.

Rating: D

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