Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Celebrity Thin

The Bling Ring       Final Cut Score: 73%


With precious few "original" tales to tell, Hollywood has this nasty habit of churning out projects that are virtually indistinguishable from each other, often released mere months apart — cinematic facsimiles.

2012 doled out dueling Snow Whites in Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. And this year, we find the president in peril in Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down.

And who could possibly forget the killer lava clash of 1997: Dante's Peak vs. Volcano.

While Sofia Coppola's latest work, The Bling Ring and this past March's Spring Breakers aren't wholly derivative of one another, they share the same teens-recklessly-seeking-notoriety narrative — both slathered with a heaping dose of "artistry".

But where the latter is a sumptuously-stylized, hyperreal-and-it-knows-it sleazefest, Coppola's "ripped-from-the-headlines" docudrama is a stick-thin expose of a gaggle of brats obsessed with snatching Prada purses and Alexander McQueen shoes from celebs' high-up-in-the-hills chateaus.

Stretched – drawn and quartered – into film form from a 2010 Vanity Fair piece, five puddle-deep juvies ("dawgs" and "bitches" as the kiddos call one another) make it their mission to live the glorified-for-doing-nothing lifestyle by busting into the palatial estates of such luminaries as: Paris Hilton (receiving a stand-in-the-corner-of-a-bar cameo), Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom and Rachel Bilson — way, way back when the ex-O.C. star was semi-relevant within the pages of OK! mag.

Coppola's Pac-Man pattern for the shortish-while-simultaneously-sloggish 95-minute runtime: Teens google celeb's address, teens slither through unlocked door/window, teens parade around like they own the joint, teens swipe some swag, teens celebrate their haul at the "hot" nightspot. Rinse and repeat.

Though Francis Ford's daughter's raw shooting style provides some impressive visuals, the raid of Audrina Partidge's glass-laden abode's shown in one continual shot, capturing the heist with the entirety of the home in frame.

Newcomer Katie Chang stands out as the anesthetized ringleader of the group, luring her school's moldable newbie (Israel Broussard) into the home invasion-light spree. Emma Watson continues her "Hermione who?" tour with a turn as a saccharin-sweet, home-schooled hussie. Though the real find here is Gavin Rossdale, the ubiquitously-shirtless tabloid fave mumbles his lines and exhibits the on-screen charisma of soaked toast.

Quite fitting for a film as shallow as the kids it focuses on. After all, less than two years ago, the same story sourced a Lifetime movie.