A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that King Kelly (a comedy shot almost entirely on iPhones) comments on the "me" generation's callousness, selfishness, narcissism, and obsession with fame. But while it's about teens, it's filled with mature material that makes it (ironically) not age appropriate for anyone under 18. To start, it has extreme sexual content, including a topless teen character (the actress playing her is really 26), simulated webcam masturbation, other sex acts, and sexual innuendo. Language is equally strong, with constant uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. Teen girls are seen abusing alcohol and drugs over the course of a night (mainly vodka, cocaine, and Ecstasy), and other teens are seen drunk and high on pot. There's also some violence: A state trooper assaults a teen, and a secondary character is shot. It's not exactly a hopeful movie, but the sheer negative portrayal of these characters could inspire mature teens to become better people.
What's the story?
Teenage Kelly (Louisa Krause) earns money by stripping and masturbating for a webcam service; she hopes to launch her own site soon, believing that she'll become extra-famous. Her best friend, Jordan (Libby Woodbridge), helps her out. When Kelly's ex-boyfriend, Ryan (Will Brill), takes back his car -- which Kelly has been driving -- he doesn't realize that she left a shipment of heroin in the trunk. She has to get the drugs back before serious trouble comes down. But in Kelly's world, things operate in Kelly's way and on Kelly's own clock. First, there's a little fun to be had. One of Kelly's fans, a state trooper known as "Poo Bare" (Roderick Hill), shows up to help, but eventually he only adds to the trouble.
Is it any good?
This film is outrageous, cynical, and not always easy to watch, but it's quite smart. Quite a few recent movies have been filmed on portable devices by their characters, and KING KELLY is no exception; it appears as if Kelly and Jordan captured the entire adventure on their iPhones, and, indeed, director Andrew Neel did use that technology for at least most of his movie. Thankfully, however, Neel appears to have something to say about the entire thing, rather than being content to rest on his gimmick.
His characters and their absurd situation demonstrate the kind of attitude that seems to be behind the YouTube and Facebook phenomenon, a kind of selfish, callous, narcissistic state of being that allows for no actual human input or interaction. (Even during sex, Kelly films her own face, posing and pouting for her "fans.") The plot about finding the drugs by a certain time is eventually dropped so that Kelly (well played by Krause) can get her way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the teen characters' casual attitude toward sex. How do they use it? Is it about love/romance or something else? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
Why are these teens obsessed with filming every detail of their lives and posting the footage online? What's the intense appeal of fame among young people? Why is it important to self reflect before you self reveal?
King Kelly's main character is selfish, callous, and narcissistic. Do you think she's meant to be likable? Funny? Does she make you want to be like her or avoid being like her?
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