Ah, the life of a 15-year-old homeless kleptomaniac. After arriving in a small town in Montana, Jake gets to live with a happy, friendly family, have sex with older women, get a job and play matchmaker, all for trying to steal a car radio. If only his mother hadn’t abandoned him, life would be dandy, but as it is in “Steal Me,” he mopes and yearns and sets himself up for an all-too-obvious ending that lacks any surprises or emotions that weren’t clear from the beginning.
Tucker, an awkward kid who’s Jake’s age but looks younger and more innocent, catches Jake sitting in a car, staring at a picture of a family instead of running off with the stereo. After a chase through the train yard, Tucker feels sorry for Jake and takes him to his home to bathe him and give him something to eat, leading to his dad deciding to take Jake in after he tells the truth about his thievery.
While the film strives for meditative poetry, with surreal colors and dialogue with no lip synch to communicate Jake’s inner fantasies, it only accomplishes frustrating stagnancy. There’s enough character development for a 20-minute short, and 75 additional minutes are manufactured with slight variations on the same scenes in different rooms of the house. Tucker’s mom doesn’t appreciate what she sees as a bad influence on her son, his dad is understanding and wants to give poor Jake a chance, Jake longs for Tucker’s mom’s motherly guidance while also having a thing for her body, Tucker’s cool sort-of friends are interested in and jealous of Nick, Tucker watches and looks troubled. The cops can be sure of one thing: Nobody in the film is going to steal the audience’s attention span.