Teenage Paparazzo

  • Review Date: September 26, 2010
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Insightful docu explores ethics of tabloid culture.
  • Review Date: September 26, 2010
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The documentary explores the relationship between society’s voyeuristic interest in celebrities and the role the paparazzi plays in satisfying this interest with insight into the ethical questions involved. It also looks at the negative impact the adult world of the paparazzi has on a 13-year-old.

Positive role models

The more famous Visschedyk becomes, the more obnoxiously he behaves. His mother allows him to stalk celebsalone at all hours. But many of the adult photographers respect the teenager and/or offer him advice.

Violence

The paparazzi push, shove, and punch each other to get close to celebrities. Occasionally celebs are shown getting violent toward paparazzi. Visschedyk carries pepper spray to defend himself if necessary. He is also shown playing with a BB gun.

Sex

Occasionally celebs are shown wearing bathing suits or sexy clothing. Visschedyk is occasionally seen in his underwear. A crude reference is made to Britney Spears' crotch.

Language

Words like “ass,” “pissed,” “s--t,” and “f--k” are frequently used, especially by the young Visschedyk himself.

Consumerism

Electronics like Apple computers and iPods, Verizon Androids, and other communication devices are visible. High-end cars like Lexus and Mercedes Benz appear. Tabloid magazines like US Weekly and tabloid TV shows like TMZ are featured.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Beer is occasionally visible. Drunk people are visible on the street where paparazzi hang out. References are made to cocaine and other drugs. Visschedyk makes a pact with his mom not to drink or use drugs in exchange for being permitted to stay out at all hours by himself.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that that this documentary directed by actor Adrian Grenier explores the relationship between celebrity and society by following a 14-year-old celebrity photographer. The film contains lots of strong language (including “ass,” “pissed,” “s--t,” and “f--k”), scenes of paparazzi pushing and shoving each other to get closer to celebs (and occasionally celebs pushing back), and some crude sexual references. Beer occasionally appears onscreen, and there are references to being drunk and using drugs. The film also highlights some of the questionable parental decisions the teenager's mother makes in supporting her son’s career.

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What's the story?

TEENAGE PAPARAZZO is a documentary that looks at the relationship between the world of celebrity and society through the eyes of a teenage photographer. Entourage star Adrian Grenier follows Austin Visschedyk, a savvy and precocious 14-year-old paparazzo, in order to get a first-hand look at the world of the paparazzi. Meanwhile, interviews with celebs like Paris Hilton, Eva Longoria Parker, Lindsay Lohan, and Entourage co-star Kevin Dillon offer some interesting insight into their fears about the tabloid industries’ growing lack of boundaries. Members of the paparazzi, including veteran photographer Steven Sands and blogger Perez Hilton, and a variety of media experts also offer their points of view about the role the paparazzi play in the entertainment industry, the ethics surrounding today’s tabloid journalism, and the role that celebrity plays in people’s everyday lives.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The documentary, which was directed by Grenier, offers an in-depth discussion of the sociological and psychological questions that have emerged as the result of American society’s obsession with celebrity. But the real draw is Visschedyk, whose own reality becomes blurred as he goes from being a curiosity on the tabloid circuit to a global sensation thanks to the attention he receives from Grenier and other media outlets.

Overall, the film offers some interesting observations about how paparazzi, tabloids, and the entertainment industry function within today’s voyeuristic society. The movie s a little long, but the insight offered by the wide array of actors and comedians helps keep it interesting. Viewers may find themselves with a lot to think about the next time they tune in to learn more about their favorite celebrity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the history of tabloids and paparazzi. Did you know that Alexander Hamilton started the first tabloid publication in America to spread rumors about Thomas Jefferson?

  • Movie studios used to create tabloid moments for their stars. Why did this change? When did paparazzi take over this job? How has technology like the Internet and cell phone cameras impacted the way the paparazzi work?

  • Paparazzi are often paid big bucks to photograph celebs engaged in negative behavior. What kind of impact does this have on the way we think about celebrities? Do you think it glorifies their behavior? Why or why not?

  • Parents: What kinds of things can you do to help your kids understand how their celebrity role models are being portrayed in the media?

Movie details

DVD release date:March 29, 2011
Cast:Adrian Grenier, Austin Visschedyk, Steven Sands
Director:Adrian Grenier
Studio:HBO Home Video
Genre:Documentary
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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