Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, review: trashy true crime that glamourises the idiots who got caught

Have you ever wanted to carry out a burglary in an exclusive suburb of Los Angeles County? Channel 4 can help!
“You wanna break into a celebrity home? Here’s how you do it,” explained Nick Prugo in Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist, an unnecessary and superficial documentary dredging up an old crime spree that targeted Paris Hilton, among others.

There followed a step-by-step guide, although it’s only handy if your victims – like Hilton – have no security and are stupid enough to leave their doors unlocked.

The story of this gang has already been made into an unremarkable 2013 film, The Bling Ring, starring Emma Watson. The friends turned criminal because they had seen the likes of Hilton enjoy the trappings of fame without having any discernible talent, and decided they wanted the same. They started by stealing handbags from cars (also with the doors left open – does no one in California lock anything?) and progressed to houses, checking social media to find out when the celebrities would be out.

It’s a mystery why the story (the crimes took place in 2008-09) is being revived now. The film was mainly interviews with two of the gang’s vapid members, Prugo and Alexis Neiers. Prugo smirked from beneath a succession of stupid hats. Neiers pouted between make-up touch-ups.

In a sense, one can’t blame them for behaving like stars, because the programme-makers treat them as such and have made a failed attempt to give the show a layer of ironic cool. They appeared in cheesy reconstructions and read truly awful scripted voice-overs. “Now, over to me,” Neiers said before we switched to her part of the story; when a location shot was overlaid on screen with “San Fernando Valley” in large type, Prugo sneered: “Hold on, you’re not going to use big text, are you? That’s so cliché.” Ugh.

Prugo bragged about the great time he’d had raiding Hilton’s home, and of the quality of cocaine he took (“I mean, like, Scarface coke”). There are another two episodes of this. Perhaps it will turn into a tale of contrition, shame and redemption. Mmm… I doubt it.

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