Joel Schumacher is a filmmaker whom at his best can be quite interesting to watch – but such a standard is so rare inside of his body of work knowing what feels so common for films under his own eye. Twelve is yet another one of these scenarios, but what surprised me is that even though it is quite evidently a bad film, it was still a tolerable one to watch. It seems fitting that the best way in order to describe Twelve is that it is a film that merely exists, without any reason to, but there’s nothing going against the fact that it already does. You can at least credit it on the count that it has at least one sense of an admirable intention, but the way everything is executed is so sloppy from first moment to last – it only presents a feeling of pure nothingness.
Coming from the novel of the same name by Nick McDonell, Twelve is a film that tells the story of drug addiction and violence together with its effect upon teenagers who are living in Manhattan. It’s actually not too bad of a premise which we have at hand but and knowing who is handling it, one can expect only terrible things to come out, but surprisingly Twelve is actually a whole lot more tolerable than what may already be pre-assumed. It’s just that it is evident that Joel Schumacher has no idea how does he wish to explore the ideas that could be presented inside of a premise like this, so instead he just stitches together a random turn of events at every corner – and in turn nothing ever really comes out of it.
Not going to lie, but if there’s at least something about Twelve that did come to my liking, it would have to be the cinematography, which is actually quite nice at times. And one can say I’m soft over Emma Roberts, but I actually quite liked her performance in here but at least I can guarantee it was more a tolerable watch than 126.96.36.199 or Valentine’s Day, two other films starring her which came out in the same year (to her credit though, she also has the delightful It’s Kind of a Funny Story). All of this right here are more or less the only things about Twelve that stand out among all the worst factors that build everything up.
With those out of the way, most of the acting is actually rather bad – though not always to the point of being terrible. 50 Cent’s presence however serves as a detriment, but he’s always been a terrible actor prior to, and after this. Chace Crawford is as awful as one can only expect, for he still remains as wooden as he always has been ever since The Covenant and Emily Meade more or less feels as if she is just there, reciting lines and whatnot, just without any sense of caring for the material which is being handled (which is ultimately, the biggest problem with Twelve). Outside of 50 Cent, there’s nothing remotely despicable about the performances (Emma Roberts and Rory Culkin perhaps standing apart at least as those who are caring for what they have), even if they still have a vibe of feeling just uninterested all around.
As noted earlier, the biggest problem with Twelve is just that it never feels so interested even with itself. Not to the point that it preaches or glorifies, but to the point that there’s not really anything to even pick out from it. Stuff happens so that it can only warrant the film’s running time and its existence, but nothing really happens that can warrant one’s attention either on a positive or negative end of the spectrum. And the fact that nothing really worthy of grabbing the attention is what helps in making Twelve feel more tolerable than how it would sound at least by looking at the premise or reading who else is involved with the production – something which came out of nowhere.
Joel Schumacher has made a number of bad films and while Twelve may find itself to be one of these, it’s just a film so full of nothing all around. A few decent performances and some occasionally nice cinematography, but nothing really being carried that warrants a strong reaction on either end. It’s a more tolerable film than most of Joel Schumacher’s very worst films, but such a distinction is not particularly saying much because it’s the feeling that nothing is taking place to elicit some form of a reaction on either end that never really makes it worth a watch. It’s a film that merely exists, has no reason to do so, but also has nothing against the fact it’s around. It’s just a film that’s there.
Watch the trailer right here.
All images via Gaumont.
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Screenplay by Jordan Melamed, from the novel by Nick McDonell
Produced by Ted Field
Starring Chace Crawford, Rory Culkin, 50 Cent, Emily Meade, Emma Roberts, Erik Per Sullivan, Ellen Barkin
Release Year: 2010
Running Time: 97 minutes