Director: Sofia Coppola
Studio: American Zoetrope / FilmNation Entertainment
Stars: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson
Director Sofia Coppola goes sly, breezy and accessible in The Bling Ring, her deeply superficial movie about a deeply superficial group of bored, privileged, real-life Southern California high schoolers who snaked $3 million in cars, designer threads, cash and accessories by breaking into the lavish homes of their "fashion idols" like Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom and Paris Hilton. During their moron rampage of 2008 and 2009, they blew the money on clothes, drugs and clubbing, and they bragged about it all on Facebook and to their friends.
Twits, every one.
Based on a 2010 Vanity Fair story by Nancy Jo Sales, the movie finds Coppola taking a judgment-free, detached stance on the characters convincingly and winningly played by Emma Watson (manipulative, self-obsessed and vacant) and her airy-fairy New Age mother, played by Leslie Mann, let alone the other principals enacted by less familiar actors, the standouts being Israel Broussard and Katie Chang.
These blank, banal alien beings know nothing and care nothing beyond celebrity gossip, clothes, money, TV shows like The Hills and partying. But are they pod people or slightly more extreme examples of our increasingly dumbed down, celebrity-obsessed, TMZ-addled populace? The movie entertains and looks great but leaves one with the feeling that, just like the alienated kids it follows, there’s much less to it than meets the eye.
We don’t need judgment or pearl-clutching from Coppola in her examination of The Entitled Generation. But since we've already had a 2011 TV movie about the same kids and the same case, is it too much to expect that Coppola deliver much, much more—including, at least, a point of view?