Thu June 20, 2013
The Bling Ring
The Bling Ring
Grade: C +
Director: Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation)
Screenplay: Coppola, Nancy Jo Sales
Cast: Emma Watson (This is the End), Israel Broussard (The Chaperone)
Runtime: 90 min.
by John DeSando
“Let’s go shopping.” Rebecca (Katie Chang)
The clichés of privileged Beverly Hills teens provide director Sofia Coppola in the sometimes boring Bling Ring another chance to satirize celebrity (my fav is Lost in Translation) and its obsessions, a subset of pop cult that thrives on Internet reports about celeb activity and social media’s strategic position as the connector among these fame-hungry young slackers.
For the hip but bored teens, visiting uninvited the lairs of A-listers like Lindsey Lohan and Orland Bloom, whom the Internet reports being away ( something of a stretch to believe), is a rush just to see their vast reserves of bling, but stealing some of those items and cash, can be a connection to celebrity too satisfying to pass up. And when Marc (Israel Broussard) fences a box of Bloom Rolexes, life doesn’t get sweeter, really!
Although Vanity Fair does a profile of the robbers (and actually did in an article serving as a basis for this film), nothing seems to go beyond the surface. Even Emma Watson’s Nicki, the easy symbol of wasted talent and a fountain of bland teen cliché’s, whatever! is in the end a cipher of platitudes and repository for the easy justifications of their errant behavior when the law finally catches up with them.
Although Coppola plumbed deeply for insight into celebrity and its worshipers in Somewhere and Lost in Translation, in The Bling Ring she seems satisfied just to listen to dreary conversation and spy on inane crime. But then, that superficiality is what “bling” is really all about.
Coppola doesn’t ask much for the analysis because she is interested in the surface drama, wherein we can observe the teen’s foolish obsessions without really knowing why. Lurking in the background is the material to answer some of the questions in the form of parents, who glide in and out of the scene with rarely a moment of authority or wisdom. Their willingness to give too much liberty and too little responsibility to their children supplies Coppola the subtext of parental neglect without making it a defining part of the satire.
When mother Laurie (Leslie Mann) starts the teens’ morning with, “Girls, Time for your Adderall,” the cross between narcolepsy and ADH is figuratively made, a conjunction of lassitude and hyperactivity characteristic of a rudderless younger generation and good enough reason to form a bling ring.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com