By JJ Bersch
About ten minutes before my screening of The Bling Ring began, a group of four teens stumbled their way into seats a few rows in front of me. The loudest of them, a young man blessed with a voice like a fart from the ass of the Honey Smacks frog, let his friends know that he hoped the movie would be “like, ironically funny.” They all agreed and went back to snacking on their oversized buckets of popcorn and vases of soda. You see, these real cool kids did not venture their way to the theater to sit down and enjoy Sofia Coppola’s latest film. Of course not. They wouldn’t be caught dead doing that. That’s *so* lame. They were there to perform the act of seeing Sofia Coppola’s latest film, to tell and tweet and FourSquare to their other friends that they went to The Bling Ring, that it was dumb and empty and boring, that losers like me were there with a notepad, a pen, and a box of Twizzlers, that it was not as good as the unfairly maligned and actually pretty subversive Hangover III, that they knew it wasn’t going to be good but went anyway because hey, what if it turns out to be ironically funny, wouldn’t that be unironically funny?
Self-performance of that nature is actually at the center of The Bling Ring. I am sure the children in front of me found that ironic and funny. Based loosely on Nancy Jo Sales’s Vanity Fair article “The Suspect Wore Louboutins,” Coppola’s latest concerns itself with a series of high-profile robberies committed by a group of high schoolers involving the houses of celebrities including Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Audrina Patridge, Orlando Bloom, and Dame Lindsay Lohan. Meek, frequently truant Mark (Isreal Broussard) is sent to a school for rich delinquents. Initially unpopular, he quickly befriends petty theft Rachel (Katie Chang). Unsatisfied by the meager gains provided by unlocked cars, the two corroborate with Google Maps and Dlisted to locate celebrities’ houses and current locations. Just like that they’re rummaging through the unending closets of Paris, trying on pretty pink stilettos and bringing whatever they can back home. Also unable to resist the allure of grand larceny are black culture co-opter Chloe (Claire Julien), sexual octopus Sam (Taissa Farmiga), and Alexis Neiers stand-in Nicki (Emma Watson). Almost the entirety of the film sees the teenagers robbing then partying, partying then robbing, or robbing while partying, at least until they are caught, at which point they no longer rob or party but rather sulk or give weirdly inspirational speeches.
I wrote about The Bling Ring, a movie I really enjoyed.