Review: ‘Palo Alto’ 6.3.14

I was pretty excited about seeing this one, and while I wouldn’t say I was necessarily let down by it, it was one of those movies that I had a hard time really getting into. Think ‘Spring Breakers’ if it had of been filmed in the same style as Gus Van Sant’s almost clinically observant piece ‘Elephant’ and Larry Clark’s ‘Kids’ content-wise. Lots of meandering shots following the day and the lives of white, over privileged teens (Emma Roberts, and Val Kilmer’s son, in what must be his first role, and who by the way, looks and sounds exactly like him). A soccer coach (played by a slimy James Franco, who also wrote the book the movie is based on), deadbeat dad (Val Kilmer), and school psychologist (Talia Shire).  All play into a story about a group of youths on the fringes making poor decisions, struggling with adolescence, doing self-destructive things, etc. And while the performances (particularly that of Emma Roberts) and cinematography were good, it just felt a bit too meandering and like something I had seen before one too many times. That being said, it promises a young new talent in director Gia Coppola, who as you may or may not know, is the 26-year old niece of Francis Ford and cousin of Sofia. Maybe worth checking out when it comes to DVD. But slightly disappointing as a $9 movie to see at the cinema.

Grade: C+/B-