Wassup Rockers

on June 23, 2006 by Susan Green
Although the Los Angeles teens in Larry Clark's "Wassup Rockers" hail from an ethnically diverse version of Dogtown -- South Central -- they're too klutzy to ever qualify as Z-Boys. Yet skateboarding remains the chief passion of the Salvadoran and Guatemalan youngsters invariably dubbed Mexican by the Gringos or African-Americans they encounter. The Latino lads, obviously drawn from the non-actors portraying them, meet with ridicule for eschewing the hip-hop aesthetic. Among other things, they wear tight pants. Jonathan (Jonathan Velasquez) invariably gets the girls, in contrast with his shy cousin Milton (Milton Velasquez). The other characters are not as well delineated.

During a Beverly Hills misadventure, these basically decent kids have a blast despite a series of setbacks. It's like "A Hard Day's Night" with a truly awful punk soundtrack. Ultimately stunned by the wiles of wealthy people, they skate and skate and skate some more in this overlong but endearing culture-clash movie. Starring Jonathan Valesquez, Francisco Pedrasa, Milton Velasquez, Usvaldo Panameno and Eddie Velasquez. Directed and written by Larry Clark. Produced by Henry Winterstern, Kevin Turen and Larry Clark. A First Look release. English- and Spanish-language; subtitled. Comedy/Drama. Rated R for pervasive language, some violence, sexual content and teen drinking. Running time: 111 min

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