Movie review: Simplistic “Gimme Shelter” preaches what it practices

By
From the January 23, 2014 edition

Important note: If you happen to see “Gimme Shelter” in the movie listings this week, it is not the 1970 Maysles Brothers documentary about The Rolling Stones. I just saved you some major disappointment.

And even if you know that this “Gimme Shelter” is actually a Vanessa Hudgens movie, let me save you some disappointment.

Former “High School Musical” sweetheart Hudgens follows up “Spring Breakers” with another role meant to break her nice girl image. And while she showed some chops in the previous film, “Shelter” won’t be the mold-breaker she may have been hoping for.

Hudgens plays Agnes “Apple” Bailey, a pregnant teenager who flees a drug-addicted mother (Rosario Dawson) to reconnect with an affluent father (Brendan Fraser) who doesn’t want anything to do with her.

Director Ron Krauss adapts from a “true story” for maximum sap value. It’s the kind of movie that touts itself as “inspirational,” and it feels like a made-for-TV melodrama.

Hudgens’ attempts to play streetwise come off, shall we say, inauthentic. Punctuating her speech with “yo” and “lemme axe you” here and there doesn’t suddenly make me buy that hard-knock life.

I guess even true stories can be full of clichés, this one landing on a tidy little moral. But, please, Papa don’t preach.

Photo courtesy of Roadside Attractions