By: Lauren Cohen, The Campus Movie Guru (University of Miami)
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For better or for worse, not many people are more into pop culture than I am. That’s why when I heard about Adrian Grenier’s new HBO documentary, written, directed and starring, Adrian Grenier, I was pumped to see it. My reaction? “Awesome! I love Vince! …er, I mean Adrian!” Add in interviews with a ton of other celebrities (including Lindsay Lohan, Eva Longoria, Paris Hilton and more), and I’m so there.
I’ve always viewed the paparazzi with a sort of loathing…I mean, who could forget what happened to Princess Diana? So I was interested to see how Adrian would deal with this subject matter in the film. Teenage Paparazzo focuses on Austin, a 13-year old (yes, you read that correctly) paparazzo. When Austin saw Adrian on the street and ran up to him amongst the throngs of other people snapping away at him for his photo, he was intrigued, and it inspired him to make this documentary. It starts out mainly about Austin; how someone so young got into such a business, how the others paps treat him, why he chooses to do this (the 500-1000 dollars a picture he makes can’t hurt), etc. But as the film hits its midpoint, it starts to veer further from Austin and more towards the Paparazzi in general. This is when the documentary hit gold. Adrian, eager to truly understand these people that chase him down the street and wait outside his house into the wee hours of the night, at one point decides to go with Austin and pose as a paparazzo. This, combined with interviews from paparazzo as well as the heads of magazines such as US Weekly who pay big money for the photos, really gives some perspective into the whole business. After a while, I started to realize that I was funding this madness to the same degree that I despise it. It also brings to the forefront what bullshit many of the front page stories we see on all the celebrity magazines at the drugstore truly are.
Teenage Paparazzo is a great first effort from Grenier, who went from playing someone the paparazzi chased on the hit HBO show Entourage to experiencing it firsthand. While the documentary suffers from some pacing problems and switches directions a little too hastily, Grenier’s honesty about how fame affected him and the obvious effort he put into being unbiased on a subject that affects him so directly, made for an insightful look at our generations obsession with celebrity and fame.