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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 8, 2013

The Bling Ring Review: Told Without Much Energy Or Impact

SOFIA COPPOLA’ “The Bling Ring” is based on the true story of high school teeners (four girl and one boy who’s obviously gay) who burglarize the homes of celebrities in Hollywood Hills starting 2008. It was later recounted in the Vanity Fair article in 2010. The story is told from the point of view of the boy, Marc (Israel Broussard), a loner who has just moved in to a new high school. He’s quickly befriended by an Amerasian girl, Rebecca (Katie Chang), who first introduces him into opening parked expensive cars and stealing its contents.

From there, they start breaking and entering into the empty homes of celebrities like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, Rachel Bilson, along with other friends: Nicki (Emma Watson), Chloe (Claire Julien) and Sam (Taissa Farmiga). They find out the addresses of celebrities through the internet and when these are out of town, they go visit their vacant homes. Soon, they’re stealing expensive jewelry, designer clothes, bags, shoes, shades and even luggage.

They hang out, do drugs, dance in clubs, take fotos of themselves like the true selfies that they are, all to the tune of a grinding hip hop party beat. None of these teeners is a sympathetic character. They’re all insensitive and shallow. They all deserve to be arrested. Coppola is obviously making a comment about the celebrity obsession so common today among young people, but the problem is she failed to come up with an involving cinematic piece.

These are not rebels without a cause. They just plain lead empty lives without any conscience, interested in nothing but celebrity gossip, instant gratification and amassing material possessions no matter how they obtain it. It’s like they have this warped sense of entitlement in filching the properties of the people who they see on TV. One thing we realize as we watch this is that it’s so easy to steal in the U.S. because people seem to just leave their cars and homes unlocked all the time.

The story is told without much energy or impact. After a while, the movie becomes repetitive and boring as they actually just do the same thing over and over again, burglarizing homes, until they get caught. In the end, when each of them is sentenced to prison, we can’t help but say: Serves you right. Coppola suggests that the celebrities they rob aren’t really any better than these teeners, what with Lindsay also accused of shoplifting and even spending time in jail with Nicki.

The young actors who play the larcenous characters are all effective in the sense that they all come out as repulsive. Except for Emma Watson, they’re all unknowns, but it’s a pretty good ensemble. Emma is obviously desperate to distance herself from her Hermione character in “Harry Potter”. Here and “The Perks of a Wall Flower”, she plays American characters so she really tries hard to change her British accent.