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‘The Bling Ring’ review: If you’re ‘Pretty Wild,’ karma often comes with cuffs

blingThere were two reasons I wanted to see “The Bling Ring” this weekend.

1. It stars Mississippi native Israel Broussard as one of the teen thieves who broke into Hollywood homes and stole designer clothing and jewelry from famous celebrities.

I got a chance to interview Broussard by phone last week, who is a very polite and mature young man. I’m sure he has a good film career ahead of him because landing your first major role in a Sofia Coppola movie “ain’t” too shabby.

2. I had previously watched the E! reality television series “Pretty Wild,” starring Alexis Neiers and her two teenage “sisters,” which I think – as reality shows go – may be one of the most absurd and entertaining ones I’ve ever seen because of how oblivious these girls and their parents seem about everything taking place in their lives.

I’m not sure how this happened since their mother tried to home school them using metaphysical consciousness principles with a curriculum based on the “The Secret” or laws of attraction. But obviously, they weren’t paying a lot of attention to the chapters about karma.

When the show began filming, Neiers – whose father (not featured on the show) has been a director of photography for “Friends” and many other television shows, and mother is a former Playboy model – had not been arrested for her alleged involvement in “The Bling Ring.”

It was also shot before writer Nancy Jo Sales published a Vanity Fair article called The Suspects Wore Louboutins that was later optioned and became the basis for the film.

In “Pretty Wild” and in “The Bling Ring,” we see police show up at the door to arrest Miss Neiers for her alleged burglary participation. We also see clips of Sales interviewing her for the piece, during which Neiers was told it was her opportunity to tell her side of the story and show the world who she really was.

Unfortunately for Neiers, when the article came out, she was highly disappointed in the content, and her meltdown aired on the reality show.

Neiers and her “sister” Tess Taylor, also a Playboy model, who actually wasn’t related to them, but moved in with the family prior to filming because of her mother’s own substance abuse issues, later admitted the girls weren’t even living at home with their parents as it appeared. Instead, they had been residing at a nearby hotel using black tar heroin through most of it. Pictures later appeared online, and the show was cancelled.

I can’t really begin to explain the absurdity, chaos and ridiculousness of this television show, but if you’re interested in seeing it, it’s being streamed on Netflix and is a great companion to “The Bling Ring.”

Neiers later pleaded no contest to the charges, and was convicted and jailed for about a month. Ironically, she wound up in a cell next to Lindsay Lohan, one of the celebrities from which she had allegedly stolen.

Since then, it seems she has straightened her life out. She got off drugs, got married and recently gave birth to a baby girl. She also went to rehab and school to become a credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselor.

It’s terrible when anyone is the victim of theft, even if the cash celebrities often drop on a single clothing item could feed an impoverished family for year. But I kept wondering throughout this whole movie why rich Hollywood celebrities with millions of dollars would go out of town and just leave their doors unlocked with no security alarms or guards consistently monitoring their property? And why would Paris Hilton, one of the victims, hide her spare key UNDER THE RUG?

I think there were a lot of messages in the film, and the audience learns most of them through Broussard’s character. While not hiding the spare key to your house under the doormat is a good one, the main ones are: We live in a celebrity- and label-obsessed culture. It’s easy to get caught up in something you know is wrong when you desperately want to fit in. And if you don’t have a strong sense of self and morality, you can be easily corrupted.

These kids all seemed like they were lost in an artificial world of nothingness with no repercussions for their actions, but no matter how invincible you feel, there are always consequences, and sooner or later, either the laws of attraction or the laws of society will show up with handcuffs.

Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.



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