Is Palo Alto basically the Nickelodeon equivalent of Spring Breakers? Instead of James Franco and two ex-Disney Channel stars, we get James Franco and two ex-Nick stars. Nat Wolff has really turned his career around. His performance in Palo Alto almost made me forget that he starred in a television show that I despise. Knowing how he got his start, I would like to think that Nat Wolff was not really acting and that his show left him this crazy. Emma Roberts also gives a great, but not as crazy of a performance.
Palo Alto consists of a few different stories that are meant to somehow connect together. The best of these stories involves James Franco and Emma Roberts. James Franco plays a charismatic high school soccer coach who strikes up a relationship with Emma Roberts’ character, an underage high school student. He may be a bit too charismatic as his character is not as creepy as it probably should be.
The other major plotline in Palo Alto involves two teenagers played by Nat Wolff and newcomer Jack Kilmer. Their characters are probably best described as juvenile delinquents. Both appear to be reckless, but one of the teenagers tries to turn his life around after getting into an accident while driving drunk. This adds some depth to the characters and the story, but it seems like an excuse to introduce some odd but fantastically edited montages. The editing in this film is great and is the highlight of Palo Alto.
Palo Alto is a decent movie that could have been better if the different stories did not feel so forcibly interwoven.