Wassup Rockers Larry Clark

The last time we saw Larry Clark, he was throwing fists at an offended distributor, resulting in his film's ban in the UK. He's toned it down on this one, but that's not necessarily a good thing. Wassup Rockers is a film about conformity that, while earnest at times, lacks the spirit that Clark's been chasing since Kids. Big surprise, Rockers centres on a group of disaffected skateboarders. Only now they're from South Central L.A., play in a punk rock band and are tired of defending their tight pants, Hispanic roots and disinterest in hip-hop culture. On a trek to leave trouble behind and find a legendary skate spot, they bus to an affluent neighbourhood in Beverly Hills. Here too they're provoked for being different, this time by uptight cops, slutty rich girls and skeezy movie producers. But they don't care what anyone thinks, as long as they've got each other. Awww. Wassup Rockers is a jagged film that really picks up in its second half (after most people will walk out due to the ever-present hardcore soundtrack). As a two-hour movie with a 50-page script, it's mostly improv. Not cool when the kids involved, lovable as they are, have zero acting experience (Clark literally picked them off the street… possibly in a van with tinted windows). On the flipside, because the kids are so tight in real life, their friendship is hyper-authentic on screen. For good or ill, Larry Clark is an envelope pusher. He has admitted to canning the raunchiness on this one so that his main demographic - teenagers - don't have to sneak into European art houses to see it. But while his restraint with Wassup Rockers may help him see his first proper North American release in years, it's unfortunately his least affecting film to date. (Glass Key/Palm Pictures)