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Wassup Rockers (R)

Release Date: June 23rd, 2006 by First Look Studios.
The Cast: Jonathan Velasquez, Francisco Pedrasa, Milton Velasquez, Usvaldo Panameno, Eddie Velasquez, Luis Rojas-Salgado, Carlos Velasco, Iris Zelaya, Ashley Maldonado, Laura Cellner, Jessica Steinbaum, Chris Neville, Jeremy Scott.
Directed by Larry Clark.

BASIC PREMISE: A group of teenage Latino skaters from South Central run into trouble when they visit Beverly Hills.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Writer/director Larry Clark certainly knows how to realistically portray teenagers, as he expertly showed in Kids and Bully. With Wassup Rockers, he slightly tones down the sex/nudity, drugs and violence while still maintaining realism. The thin, unsurprising plot includes the young skaters going through adventures in Beverly Hills while trying to head back to their violent neighborhood in South Central. These teens include Jonathan (Jonathan Velasquez), Kiko (Pedrasa), Spermball (Milton Velasquez), Porky (Usualdo), Louie (Rojas-Salgado), Eddie (Eddie Velasquez) and Carlos (Velasco). If only their adventures were as lively and interesting as they were as charactersóespecially the naÔve Spermball who wants to be called Milton. What the plot really needs is more tensionóbrief altercations with racist police officers and violent arenít enough. Eventually, Jonathan and Kiko meet two white girls from Beverly Hills, Jade (Cellner) and Nikki (Steinbaum), who try to score with themóbefore their white guy friends find out and chase them out of the house. However, thereís still not enough at stake. Clark simply doesnít provide enough character development, so itís difficult to care about any of the skaters. On a positive note, the cinematography includes interestingly bizarre and comical close-ups as well a fast pace which, along with the use of digital as a medium, gives a stylish look to the film.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Racism, unfortunately, still exists in this world and in our country. Wassup Rockers offers no solutions, but at least itís honest enough to acknowledges that it does exist.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Not enough character development and plot tension.


IN A NUTSHELL: Stylish, true-to-life and honest, but not enough plot tension and character development to be truly memorable.


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