Twelve

Twelve Twelve Twelve Twelve

When do you give up on a movie director? How many failures does it take? Joel Schumacher has not made a decent movie in a decade or so, and his latest, the superficial, glitzy, and uninvolving “Twelve,” based on the 2002 controversial novel by Nick McDonell, is not going to do anything good to his career.

 Early on, Schumacher has made a youth vampire picture, "Lost Boys,” and if memory serves, “Twelve” represents a return to the same thematic turf and protagonists, albeit in every other way, it’s an inferior work to the 1987 film.
 
The title of the new movie, by the way, refers to a new designer drug, sort of a cross between cocaine and ecstasy, that the protagonist sells.
 
The tale centers on the 17-year-old White Mike (handsomer Chace Crawford), the privileged son of a restaurant tycoon, who resides on the Uper East Side of New York.  Mike drops out of school to become a successful drug dealer, selling drugs to his rich peers. For a while, business is booming as all of the kids are home from boarding school, with plenty of money to blow.
 
When he is not selling drugs, Mike reminisces of his childhood, philosophizing about a world to which he feels he doesn’t really belong.  Leading a double life, Mike conceals the truth from his childhood friend Molly (Emma Roberts) while his supplier Lionel (Curtis Jackson) pulls Mike further into the world of the Manhattan drug trade. 
 
Predictably, Mike’s two lives are bound to collide, which happens when his cousin is brutally murdered on an East Harlem playground and the new drug, twelve, emerges as the recreational drug of choice.
 
Inevitable comparisons will be made between “Twelve” and “Less Than Zero,” also an unsuccessful film adaptation of a cult novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Like “Less Than Zero,” Schumacher’s film is all surfaces, reflecting the mentality of a designer, but the images lack power because they are hollow.
 
You can’t blame the young actors for the major faults of the film, which is shallow and formulaic, failing to convey in any meaningful way the inner lives, emotions and conflicts of its characters.
 
Fifteen years ago, Larry Clarke made the controversial movie “Kids,” which is still a poignant chronicle of troubled, irresponsible youth, addicted to sex and drugs.  It's much worth renting that film than attending "Twleve."