Spring Breaaaak fo’ever y’all!
Girls Gone Wild meets Natural Born Killers in a movie that’s exploitive, entertaining, and unapologetically overstylized.
Spring Breakers is the story of four college aged girls determined to go to Forida for Spring Break. When Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson), Cotty (Rachel Korine), and Faith (Selena Gomez) find out that they don’t have enough money saved, however, they’re forced to do something dangerous: they rob a restaurant.
Still high on the adrenaline of their crime (among other things), the four girls head to Florida for a week of unbridled hedonism. The four of them enthusiastically embrace the decadent atmosphere and throw themselves head-first into the debauchery. Unfortunately for them, the cops bust a party that they’re at, and they’re hauled off to jail. Without money to pay the fine, the foursome is faced with serving a couple of days in a cell, when they’re suddenly bailed out by a local gangster and rapper named Alien.
Alien (James Franco) is a cornrowed, silver grilled rapper and drug dealer, who bails the girls out due to the fact that they’re all attractive young women. He’s predatory, sleazy and verbose. Alien takes them under his wing, and brings takes them around a tour of his world. It’s then that cracks begin to appear in the foursome. While some of the girls are frightened and want to get away from him and his dangerous world, others are ready to take the plunge into the risky, high stakes, gangster living that Alien represents.
The top story of “Spring Breakers”, for me, is undeniably James Franco’s Alien. Alien is a character that will inspire memes, t-shirts, and posters. He’ll be quoted and impersonated endlessly. There’s no doubt whatsoever in my mind that this is a character with a massive cult following awaiting. I had a great, great time watching him… I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face when he was onscreen. From his soon to be legendary “Look at all my shit!” scene, to his heartfelt, emotional, talentless performance of Britney Spears’ “Everytime” on a white piano by the oceanside, everything he did or said was hysterical and memorable to me. I cant wait to own the Blu and laugh along with him again.
The movie, overall, is a spastic mess, though…
Directed with an overabundance of style by Harmony Korine (“Kids”), “Spring Breakers” jumps around like a kid on a sugar high, visually. It’s intercut with flash-forwards, flash-backs, and repeat loops. Characters have voice-overs as often as they do straight lines of dialogue. Close ups of shaking, naked breasts cut away to revelers doing funnels and keg-stands, then back to more topless women in extreme close-up. Scenes are shot in day-glo neon, underwater, everything short of upside down. The style overload is supportive of the “More, More, More, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” themes the movie presents, but it can’t cover up for the lack of a substantive narrative.
Because the story of “Spring Breakers” is almost completely unintelligible. It’s obviously a generational commentary, but as a movie “plot”, it’s absolutely lacking. It’s almost impossible to understand the girls who embrace Alien’s motivations. Little help is given, as the four girls in the film aren’t really given much backstory, depth, characterization or personality. One of them’s a “Good Girl”, the other three are “Bad Girls” and that’s about as deep as it goes. And while that may suffice to serve the film’s stunted social criticisms, it doesn’t help those who expect their movies tell a tale that makes sense. They head down to Spring Break, party, wind up in jail, then the next thing you know they’re enthusiastically knee-deep in a gang war.
Still, it’s impossible for me to say I didn’t embrace the movie. Franco’s character alone was worth the price of admission, but it was also interesting to watch Korine’s gonzo, gratuitous filmmaking in action. It’s certainly a daring movie, and a fun one, too, if you can be open-minded to the explicit bacchanalia on display.