The Bling Ring' — Sofia Coppola's new movie following five California teenagers as they rob the homes of major celebrities — has everything you could possibly want in a summer movie, including an intriguing plot, a fun soundtrack and plenty of celebrity cameos. But ultimately, the fluffy film will leave few feeling truly satisfied.'
The movie's talented cast of young actors — including Emma Watson (with a surprisingly realistic Valley Girl accent) and Winetka's own Katie Chang — is a joy to watch. Chang is as likable on camera as she is in her off-camera interviews. Evan at her character's worst — as she's running around, high on cocaine, swiping wallets from cars and breaking into homes — she seems like a good kid who made a few bad decisions. (Nothing proves this more than the scene where she breaks into her first home, that of a friend's acquaintance, and coos, 'This place is so nice!') Leslie Mann, as Emma Watson and Taissa Farminga's mother, is hilariously spot-on as a Hollywood housewife, teaching her home-schooled children to make vision boards of Angelina Jolie and passing out Adderal like Tic-Tacs. And Israel Broussard is flawless at the unspoken emotions — as he slowly makes friends at his new school, you see his confidence and joy rise, only to see it crash down as he loses them.
So, in a strange way, it's almost impressive that even with a darling and lovable cast like this, the movie can still feel so heartless at times. As the teens get arrested for their crimes, it's sad for a second — such as when Watson cries out for her mother as she's led to the squad car — but the movie ultimately falls short on adding depth to the characters, instead always treating them like bad, spoiled teenagers who got what they deserved. (And nobody is saying that they didn't have jail coming to them — they committed some major crimes, and the real Bling Ring stole over $3 million worth of cash and items.) It's difficult to say why this disconnect is there — are these kids so terrible that it's impossible to relate to them (both Chang and Watson referenced in interviews that it was hard to relate to the wild, partying ways of the teens)? Or was the movie simply so focused on the glamourous scenes (and trust me, there are a lot of glamorous scenes, with shot after shot of Prada shoes, Hermes purses and sparkly designer clothing) that it forgot to give the teenagers any substance of their own?
All in all, 'The Bling Ring' is definitely worth seeing — it's fun to watch, and shocking that its overall based on a true story. Celebrity gossip-hounds will get a kick out of seeing the celebrity cameos and seeing inside stars like Paris Hilton's home. (Bonus points if you can count how many throw pillows Hilton has with her own face on them.) But don't expect to leave the movie understanding the motive behind the teen's thefts.