“Maybe you know how it is. Maybe you don’t,” gravely intones Kiefer Sutherland, the narrator of Joel Schumacher’s silly, tone-deaf adaptation of Nick McDonell’s 2002 book about entitled Upper East Side teenage twerps. Famously published when its author was only 18, Twelve the book briskly moves along with the Didion-esque disdain of an insider—material that first-time screenwriter Jordan Melamed transforms into a hand-wringing cautionary tale with a tacked-on moral lesson and visions of a dead, beatific mother. Gossip Girl‘s Chace Crawford stars as White Mike, a Camus-quoting prep-school dropout who refrains from using any of the substances he sells to his former classmates, narcissists who are hurting deeply because their parents go on vacation without them, reachable only by satellite phone. Though Crawford’s bangs and facial hair are the most art-directed aspect of the movie, he’s costumed to look like a member of the Trenchcoat Mafia (Madison Avenue branch). But White Mike is not the psychopath of the story—that would be Claude (Billy Magnussen), who has left rehab and does something very bad at a party after Mom prefers talking with his younger brother, Chris (Rory Culkin). Filthy-rich parents, remember: Your adolescent children really want to Skype with you when you’re in St. Barts.
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