Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Bling Ring

Starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Leslie Mann
Director: Sofia Coppola
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Rating: R

Sofia Coppola’s latest flick chronicles the “Bling Ring” robberies that took place between 2008 and 2009 in Los Angeles. The story surrounds 5 stupid, spoiled teens that allegedly broke into the houses of Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Lindsay Lohan and the like. It's hilarious that they actually thought they could get away with it.  And it's pretty unbelievable how easy they make it look. And, who are these celebrities, not locking their doors? If I had 300 pairs of Louboutins, 10 Rolexes and miscellaneous furs lying about my pad, I think I’d have a pretty tight security system. Granted, a few of the houses had security cameras, but not even locking the doors? Nuts. My jaw was dropped during the entire movie.

New kid at school Marc (Israel Broussard) gets approached by rebellious Rebecca (Katie Chang) and is soon roped into her adrenaline-junkie lifestyle. Breaking into houses, taking Porsches for a spin when the owners are out of town – it seems Marc will go along with anything just to feel included. He doesn’t seem to get as much of a rush as Rebecca; he's just happy to have a friend. We seem to be most sympathetic towards him, being more of an accomplice, and really the only one with a conscience. In terms of casting, Katie Chang seemed a bit flat. I was hoping she'd really play up the “HBIC” role (Head Bitch In Charge.)

After discovering Google Maps and Perez Hilton one boring afternoon, Marc and Rebecca decide to break into Paris Hilton's mansion while she's out of town. (Note - Hilton let Coppola film in her actual house for these scenes.) Enter friends and fellow partiers Nicki, Sam and Chloe (Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga and Claire Julien) who have nothing better to do, and decide to come along. Emma Watson’s character was the most annoying I’ve seen in a while, though she was supposed to be; Taissa Farmiga, younger sister of Vera Farmiga, was a super dud (no surprise there), so my favorite by default was Chloe – typical gangsta white girl. It’s disgusting how much money these Calabasas kids have.

After a few successful runs at various houses, we’re ready for them to get caught. We're also curious to see just how far they’ll go. It makes sense that these celebrities didn’t realize they had items missing – it would be a while before they noticed a few of their 400 bags missing. Ultimately, the kids are busted one by one, and don’t show the slightest remorse. If anything, they are just sorry they got caught. The E! Network capitalized on the story, and gave Emma Watson’s character a series called “Pretty Wild.” This show only ran for one season, before she had to go serve 30 days of her one year sentence.

Leslie Mann is wonderful as the mom who wants so desperately to have her daughters’ approval, much like Amy Poehler's character in “Mean Girls.” A random cameo by Gavin Rossdale, on the other hand, left me a bit confused. Maybe he just wanted a few extra dollars since Bush can’t compete with the Harajuku Girls.

“The Bling Ring” is fun, baffling, a bit angering, and has a great soundtrack. It harkens me back to my days as a senior in high school – it’s a shame that some of my fashion icons and role models were Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan, but it’s easy to understand how obsessive these kids got. America loves to idolize celebrities, especially since their every move is so accessible to us. It's a bit frightening.

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