Friday, October 28, 2011

The Bling Ring

From the producer of The Tooth Fairy, The Santa Clause 3, and if I had to guess - The Zookeeper - comes The Bling Ring - a Lifetime Channel/Disney Channel style mashup about a gang of teenagers in Los Angeles who break into celebrity homes and steal a bunch of worthless crap worth millions. 

After ripping this movie and all of its unbelievable details to shreds, I come to find out that it’s actually based on a true story. But, seeing that this is what the real girl looked like:

and this is what the actress looks like:

I think we can pretty much look at this movie as a piece of fiction. 

The movie starts with Zack Garvey (Austin Butler) driving to his fancy new Hollywood high school with his mom (Jennifer-shitty-roles-since-the-nose-job-Grey). As mom ooh’s and aah’s over how nice the school looks, Zack points out that he, being a screw-up, actually goes to the “continuation school.” He points to what is clearly a trailer full of porto-potties. 

As soon as Zack gets out of the car, along comes the stereotypical superficial girl named Natalie (Yin Chang), who is wearing white nylon stockings and a mini skirt.  1995? Is that you? At one point Natalie actually uses the phrase “as if.” I am tempted to turn this crap off, but Dion and the guy from Scrubs should be along soon and that’s when the movie will really get - oh wait, wrong movie.  The girls eventually stop jumping up and down and saying "yay!" long enough to call Zack over to take their picture.  As if.  Girls like that would never talk to this guy in real life - sure from some angles he looks like Justin Bieber, but from others he looks like Napoleon Dynamite. Zack goes ahead and takes the picture and then scampers into the porto-johns to attend homeroom. 

After school, Natalie convinces Zack to let her drive him home, and she invites herself into his house. There we see a million framed head-shots of Zack that his mom has hung up as a reminder that he used to be a good kid who auditioned for cereal commercials and said things like “there’s no hope with dope.” It is a real tragedy that he will never again be exploited by an overbearing stage mother. 

Under the eyes of a thousand creepy head-shots, Zack introduces his lingerie clad hooker friend to his mom: 
Mom: You must be a friend of Zack’s?
Natalie: Weren’t you in Dirty Dancing?
Mom: I’m so glad Zack is making friends.
Natalie: You really shouldn’t have done that to your no -
Mom: I know. 
After revealing that Zack’s dad is super cool and does payroll for a movie studio, Natalie decides that the two of them must crash a party that Zack knows about at Club Bosso. Cue the Rodeo Drive shopping montage where Natalie shoplifts a studded leather wrist cuff and Zack unintentionally distracts the saleslady by hyperventilating into a paper bag. They were made for each other! Let the crime spree begin! 

The plot of the story eventually gets going, with Zack and Natalie showing up to a party at Paris Hilton’s house, only to discover that nobody is there, and that Paris Hilton doesn’t lock her doors. Not only does she not lock her doors, but she also doesn’t lock her gates or have any sort of security whatsoever. They walk right in and start ransacking clothes from her closet, eventually selling them to a creep named Vin who looks a lot like Matt Dillon. We’ll call him Lifetime’s Version of Matt Dillon (LVMD) and probably never refer to him again. 

Now comes my favorite part. We meet Detective Archie Fishman, played by Tom Irwin - a real actor. This guy’s been in tons of television shows and movies (and I’m talking outside of the Lifetime Movie Network, not William R. Moses style). So when Tom's opening scene finds him walking around Paris Hilton’s closet, clutching a blue sequined Versace gown, and rifling through Tinkerbell’s collection of tutu’s for fingerprints, well, I just feel very depressed. 

In another scene, Fishman is reading a copy of US Weekly for police “research,” and his wife reminds him that he’s only working on this stupid case in order to put his daughter through college. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the actor himself has a daughter in college and desperately needed some cash. I heard your hidden message, Tom. I heard it, and I forgive you. 

Eventually we get to meet Zack’s dad who is an emotionally abusive ass, intent on ruining family dinners with conversations about how his son is a huge failure. “Is that what you spend all day thinking about? Getting into night clubs?”  Cut to a classic scene of Zack’s parents sitting down to a two layer sheet cake all by themselves because Zack (the screw-up) is “out with his friends.” There’s even a Happy Birthday banner on the wall like the Dad is six years old, and there are fucking party hats on the table. Even if the Dad were the nicest guy in the world and the inventor of Disneyland, I wouldn’t expect a teenager to show up to that shit. 

While the birthday party is in full swing, Zack, Natalie, and Natlie’s girlfriends are continuing to rob celebrity homes, including Audrina Patridge, Megan Fox, and eventually Orlando Bloom. All of these celebs have surveillance cameras that aren’t hooked up to any sort of alarm system. Actually, I'm pretty sure they are just broadcast straight to YouTube. Detective Fishman, and an assortment of other serious actors who may have since ended their acting careers and lives, sit around the police station trying to figure out who the perpetrators are based on these surveillance tapes (which, if they only pushed the damn Zoom button, they would be able to figure out in about ten seconds since none of the kids are wearing masks). 

A sad day for serious actors
Instead, the cops set up a fake Facebook account and post one message that says “Looking for high end designer clothing, previous owner must be famous.” Then they go have coffee, and probably donuts. Fine job, boys. 

If you want to skip ahead to where the movie starts to “get real,” just go to 1:09.  Zack is confronted by Detective Fishman and has it out with his ass of a Dad (a/k/a Ass Dad).  “I tried so hard to be proud of you!” yells Ass Dad. “You’re jealous of me!” fires back Zack. “Why would anyone be jealous of you?” says Ass Dad “Can’t you just admit that you’re a screw up?"  Ouch.  Once you've said that phrase to your child you've pretty much sealed the deal on eventually being sent away to a nursing home.  

The movie goes on in this manner for way too long, until the kids finally get caught after robbing Orlando Bloom’s house. Zack wants LVMD to get caught, so he sells him a watch that he immediately posts to Detective Fishman's lame Facebook page.  

Using a SEARCH search and a couple of Encyclopedia Brown books, Detective Fishman gets the evidence he needs to arrest everybody.  I don’t really know the details. The movie was horrible and I got up to make popcorn and feed the cats right before it ended.

The movie ends with Zack waxing poetic into his webcam as the police are on their way to arrest him. We never do find out if they go to jail, or if Ass Dad has a well-deserved coronary. If you’re really interested you can check out the whole story on Wikipedia. But really, it’s best if you just forget this whole thing ever happened. 

Tom Irwin will thank you.