Getting Into a Tiff

High-Intensity Moviegoing at the Toronto International Film Festival

One of Son's bandmates dreams that the Ramones come to see them play; the Latino skateboard enthusiasts of Larry Clark's Wassup Rockers also receive a punk seal of approval when they stumble onto a ritzy pool party and a scenester coos, "They're like the Mexican Ramones!" Clark's tight-knit ensemble of South Central teens rollick through Beverly Hills in pursuit of horny girls and the choicest urban skating arenas, falling afoul of the police, territorial rich kids, and an armed and dangerous Clint Eastwood look-alike. Wassup Rockers captures all the tenderness and cockeyed humor of Clark's sorely unappreciated Ken Park, but it's mostly wiped clean of the director's usual shock tactics and sundry bodily fluids; the movie's goofball humanism is crystallized when one of the kids grabs a racist cop's sandwich and issues a grave threat: "Let us go or I'm gonna eat your lunch."

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