Pretty Timely Movie Review: The Bling Ring

Teenagers breaking into celebrity homes, a tattooed Emma Watson, cameos by Paris Hilton and that other chick (cough-KirstenDunst-cough), an American-accented Emma Watson, a killer soundtrack, Emma Watson … The Bling Ring seemed like a fun summer flick with a lot of potential.

Based on the real-life story of a group of California teenagers who broke into and robbed celebrity homes, this film was entertaining enough but not exactly what I’d call spectacular. There are only so many times you can watch a burglary sequence before it gets repetitive and the movie hit this number of times and then kept on going. I was intrigued by the real life story when it first hit the news back in 2009 and was disappointed that the film didn’t delve any deeper than what could be gleaned from the numerous articles and interviews from several years ago. The entire movie was basically just a cut-and-dried retelling of the whole debacle–set to flashy music.

At just an hour and a half long, there is really no excuse for the pace to drag, but drag it did. There were scenes that had no apparent relevance to the story–including a full two minutes of one character dancing in front of his webcam–and maybe I’m just getting old, but I like for my movies to be coherent. There was also far less screen time for Emma Watson than the trailers indicated, which was a bit disappointing as her attempt at a bored, spoiled-girl American accent was one of the major reasons I wanted to see the film in the first place.

I kept waiting for someone to die or overdose but no such event occurred (despite several “thematic” moments woven into the storyline). There were also no consequences for the abundant drinking and drug use, but maybe that was done on purpose to showcase the “paradigm of overindulgence in today’s society … ” Nah, I can’t even keep a straight face when I’m typing that. Nothing too terrible happened to the actual members of the Bling Ring so, therefore, nothing too terrible happened to the movie versions, either. And that’s kind of a shame.

Still, I liked the movie enough that I didn’t regret the ticket price. As I mentioned, the music was chosen well and I think it’s cool that they actually filmed in Paris Hilton’s real house. I would imagine that the actors’ surprise and awe in the scene where they see her place for the first time is mostly genuine. The character of Chloe was a bright spot, simply for her hilarious dialogue, but I felt she was underutilized. Leslie Mann was equally amazing as Watson’s character’s mother. This movie will never make it onto any of my “favorites” lists, but all told, it was a decent retelling of the story, populated by pretty people and occasional laughs.

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