Palo Alto movie poster

Another Coppola, another troubled teen flick that begs audiences to ponder the lives of rich bored white rebels without a clue. Grandpa Francis and aunt Sofia had the good sense to rely on established best sellers for their first forays into the youth film market. Not so, Francis’ granddaughter Gia Coppola, who uses as the inspiration for her debut feature the short fiction of renaissance man James Franco. (He pulls double duty, also playing a divorced gym teacher who falls in love with babysitter Emma Roberts, still young enough to pass for a high-schooler.) From sordid drinking games that lead to acts of betrayal, to midnight walks through the cemetery, to an uncomfortable hair-touching incident between one of the boys and his homophobic best friend’s dad, nothing about the film sparks originality or insight. Great aunt Tally pops up as a guidance counselor and Colleen Camp, one of the Playboy bunnies in gramps’ Apocalypse Now, is the target of fat jokes. 2013.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.


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