Movie Review: “TEENAGE PAPARAZZO”

Written by Barfoot September 10, 2011

 



PREMISE:

A documentary about a teenage boy who is a major player in the world of paparazzi; Adrian Grenier’s quest to understand the world of papazazzi; a deconstruction of fame and celebrity itself and an analysis of why we as human beings have an unhealthy obsession with the tabloid.

WHO’S IN IT:

Austin– the Teenage Paparazzo

Adrian Grenier– director, celebrity, mentor

Paris Hilton, Matt Damon, Eva Longoria, Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, Lewis Black, Paris Hilton, Mario Lopez, Lindsay Lohan, Cast of Entourage

Bunch of paparazzos you don’t know because they are not famous

 

 

WHAT’S GOOD:

A unique perspective: This documentary was directed by Adrian Grenier (Vincent Chase from Entourage). For those of you who don’t know Entourage (really??), Grenier plays a famous movie star and on many occassions deals with the paparazzi. Before Entourage became a critically acclaimed and popular TV show, Grenier was barely known for his music or his acting work. Now he is famous for Entourage and is experiencing the same level of attention from the paparazzi that Vincent Chase experiences. So playing a celebrity on TV and becoming one in real life has blurred the lines for him and therefore his is a unique take on the paparazzi phenomenon, than from a director who isn’t famous or who was never in the public eye.

Minimal Bias: Grenier, for the most part of the film, is unbiased when it comes to himself and his celebrity. He doesn’t try to steer the film towards his opinion but rather tries to understand this 13 year old boy’s obsession with celebrity and the paparazzi in general. He also faces tough questions from other paparazzos and social scientists and numerous times is told that he himself benefits from the paparazzi.

Balance: The documentary interviews celebrities like Paris Hilton and actors like Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon, Eva Longoria, and the cast of Entourage on the phenomenon of paparazzi and their opinions. On the flip side, Grenier also gets real-life paparazzo’s to profess their opinion and why they love what they do.

Engaging: The subject of paparazzi and celebrity is something everyone has an opinion about. You may love celebrities and the idea of being famous or you may hate the obsession with fame. Or you may think that it is something that the rich and famous have to deal with because of what they are and that’s just how it is. Regardless, you will find it entertaining and interesting.

Analysis of Celebrity: The film delves into psychology and evolution to find answers to why we are so obsessed with celebrity and fame. Why, whether a teenager or middle-aged mother, we are so attracted to fame and to the famous?

Self-Reflection: Documentaries are technically obligated to show you the truth. The reality. But we all know that isn’t always the case. Grenier boldly acknowledges the fact that even this particular documentary isn’t “100% real” and that if you want to know what the reality is, you have to turn off the cameras.

Time Period: Grenier films this documentary from the time Austin is 13 years old till he is 17 years old. The film is not hurried. It doesn’t capture just one small period of time but rather enough time for Grenier to really understand the world of paparazzi and cultivate an honest opinion about it.

WHAT’S BAD:

Third Act: There is a sort of ‘resolution’ for Austin. I didn’t buy it and neither did a few people who watched it. There was a “Where is he now?” segment, and it felt fake. But this “kind of manufactured” moment is acknowledged by both Austin and Grenier.

Narration: The source material and the directing saves this film about celebrity, from becoming boring. While his direction was impressive, Grenier is not Morgan Freeman. Few are. Grenier doesn’t enunciate. He slurs- not a lot, but enough for me to notice it. I guess it’s just me.

VERDICT:

This documentary is extremely engaging. It’s not nearly as biased as a Michael Moore Documentary. It indulges in the subject of celebrity which is intoxicating to a degree but it balances it out with thorough academic analysis. Watch this film on the big screen. It’s worth it.

 

My Rating: 8.5/10

 

and Adrian Grenier 10/10 for the Q&A session where Grenier entertained a butt load of questions including one on whether or not he slept with Sasha Grey (who played his girlfriend in Entourage) in real life.

Trailer:

 

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