Who's in It:
Anton Yelchin, Donald Sutherland, Diane Lane, Chris Evans, Kristen Stewart, Paz de la Huerta, Elizabeth Perkins
The Basics: Rich people are, as we all know, pure evil. And if you didn't get around to enduring the vintage preppies of Evening or the uptight moneyed Manhattanites of The Nanny Diaries, here's another shot at slumming with the people who summer at Martha's Vineyard, went to Phillips Exeter and built their fortunes on the backs of union-busting corporations. Briefly, a 16-year-old kid with a booze-and-coke-hound mom are taken in for a summer (you know, the kind that "change everything") by superrich Sutherland, the patriarch of a clan of lazy losers.
What's the Deal? This is one of those movies that doesn't trust you to figure out the point on your own. There's constant cutting-in of footage of a violent South American jungle tribe, discussion of the rich people as a "tribe," even a completely tone-shifting, boom-lowering sexual assault that just hammers the message home even more: These people are bad and will hurt you if you're an outsider and you don't know the rules. Yes, yes, lesson learned. Thank you, Cinema.
Why It's Not Even Really a Good Coming-of-Age Film: Yelchin's character is a little too worldly to be so easily duped by the people in his new playground. He's already a streetwise urban kid who buys his mom's cocaine for her and narrates the film in a way that suggests omniscience. But then he falls for the same old flattery everyone gets suckered by. If he started the movie in a little more innocent state this might seem plausible.
Even the Soundtrack Cues Are Thematically Obvious: In one scene, the young preppies, led by the good-at-being-smarmy Evans, drive recklessly while blaring the Dead Kennedys' track "Kill the Poor." Pink Floyd's "Money" might have been too costly to license for an indie film.
Who Almost Saves It: Sutherland as the wise old man who knows everyone's dirty secrets and isn't even afraid of his own; he makes it seem like you're watching an entirely different (and smarter) movie than the one you actually get.