Published Sep 10, 2012Controversial writer/director Harmony Korine lets loose his latest over-sexed, drug-infused effort, Spring Breakers, and the reactions will most definitely be diverse. Filmgoers familiar with Korine's previous efforts (Gummo and, most notably, Kids) will be left underwhelmed by the mainstream, analogous tone, whereas clueless fans of the Disney starlets will be left gasping from shock and utter bewilderment.
Spring Breakers starts off almost like a stoner version of cult classic Heathers, as we are introduced to three bored, crude and wild college girls (Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine), and their timid Christian friend (Selena Gomez), who are struggling to save enough money to go away to Florida for Spring Break, in order to escape the mind-numbing routine of their daily lives.
After three of the girls rob a small diner, they think their prayers have been answered and the four bikini-clad friends trek to Florida, embarking upon an adventure that includes scooters, alcohol, cocaine and sexual mayhem in order to "find themselves."
Alas, the only thing they find is trouble, as they end up in jail and are promptly bailed out by a corn-rowed, grill-wearing gangsta rapper named Alien (James Franco), who has a hidden agenda for the girls. Once his intentions are revealed, spring break ends sooner for some members of the group than others and the remaining go from party girls to female versions of Tony Montana in a matter of days.
Although Spring Breakers is a morbidly amusing film that intentionally exploits female empowerment through male fantasy sequences, it fails to offer a cohesive story, genre or reasoning behind the characters' preposterous decisions. People up and disappear, prior scenes are repeatedly reshown, to an annoying degree, and while James Franco is definitely the film's strongest highlight, his presence is obviously distracting throughout and it's difficult to comment on whether he is the best or, quite possibly, worst thing in it.
Spring Breakers is a rare, often entertaining satire that unfortunately is overshadowed by its achieved solipsism. (Annapurna)