A. Glass’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sprawling road trip through bumfuck America starring a bunch of teenagers and Shia LaBeouf. Supporting role from the junkie in Heaven Knows What. It's not the 21st Century's Kids, but it does hit a lot of same themes.
The other night, I went to a party hosted by a couple of lawyer friends. One lawyer was especially invested in DJing hip hop music throughout the night. It was similar to the retard music you hear in this movie. Songs about fucking and songs about making money. I felt like it was such a low rent music selection, that I switched it to ICP to see if he would even notice. Of course, he didn't. Hip hop is the meathead background tracks for soulless people's lives. This movie did an excellent job of portraying that. It also does a good job of using its time. I had put off watching this due to the length, but when you're in the throes of Star's and Jake's budding romance the nearly 3 hour runtime is worth it. I don't think you're supposed to care whether or not Jake and Star end up together, or whether Star makes the sale, the movie really shines when they put their dunderhead characters in the homes of "real" people. Each time Star steps into a home or a car, you know you're in for some good stuff. Expect that one scene with the annoying brat quoting "I Kill Children" and the junkie passed out on the couch. Funny, how the one poor house that is visited by the Mag Crew comes off the most phony.
I like the roving band of magazine selling teenagers trope. Scared the daylights out of suburban America a year or two ago. When pussies at The Atlantic tsk tsk'd these entrepreneurs without imaging a better world for them. Of course, I would never buy a magazine subscription from one of these hellacious liars. I only buy t-shirts from wayfaring unattended teens.
Good movie, but I don't think it hits the correct political marks. Kids this age love to fuck, do drugs and have money. These facts are evergreen. By the time they're 20, if their drug addition hasn't knee capped them, they work at Subway or something. I'm from a region of America that is poorer than any of the Middle West envions portrayed here. These kids will do fine.