It must be tough, being "average" and "middle class" and living within sniffing distance of L.A.'s rich and beautiful people. The designer clothes, the pricey homes, flashy cars and flashier jewelry must seem just within reach, especially to the young and avaricious.
That's the temptation of "The Bling Ring," Sofia Coppola's scintillating followup to the sleep-inducing "Somewhere." Coppola's film, based on a Vanity Fair article about the crimes, the criminals and the world they ran in, is a winking condemnation of a generation of naive, covetous privacy-abandoning teens - and their victims, celebrities so vapid they leave doors unlocked, so vulnerable in an age where the Internet tracks their every out-of-town trip, every red carpet appearance.
Because if there's one thing these dizzy L.A. larcenists have a handle on, it's social media. They don't wear gloves, don't rush through the houses they enter and pilfer, don't realize that the gate camera (which they walk toward backwards, wearing hoodies, so that their faces are hidden) isn't the only camera in a multi-million dollar hillside Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom or Lindsay Lohan abode. But they can track their prey online and Facebook photos of their haul.
As with her best films, Coppola is utterly at ease in this milieu and it shows. We're allowed to giggle at Nicki and Sam's (all names were changed) insipid self-help home schooling mom and her "teaching," inspired by "The Secret." The homes of the rich are often expensively tacky. The girls all have that mousy/sexy Kardashian growl and a thorough knowledge of high end brands.
They're an amusingly hateful bunch, their sole redeeming quality being the real and really gauche people they're robbing - many of them glimpsed in TV news coverage edited into the fray.