Writer/director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook) adapts the story of teen drug dealer/FBI Most Wanted fugitive Jesse James Hollywood. The film feels like an odd docu-tabloid hybrid, portraying the wanna-be-a-gangsta lifestyle of Southern California rugrats with a heartless precision that borders on exploitation. Hollywood here is Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch), whose hangers-on indulge in non-stop pot parties and glorify the “real” violence in endless rap videos. A feud with customer/addict Jake (Ben Foster) leads Johnny’s right-hand homie, Frankie (a surprisingly adept Justin Timberlake), to kidnap Jake’s stepbrother Zack (Anton Yelchin) in retaliation. At first doe-eyed Zack loves hanging with the big boys, but the days drag on, Johnny panics, and plans unravel. The climax is horrific in its brevity, a foil to Cassavetes’s bombastic soundtrack and glossy, crystal-meth visuals. Sharon Stone as Zack’s mother provides a stark reminder of the humanity behind these inhuman acts.
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