Disappointing Debauchery 

Even for a movie with cocaine snorted off college-age breasts, 'Spring Breakers' isn't much fun

If you are longing to see Vanessa Hudgens naked in a pool with James Franco doing his best impersonation of Gary Oldman in True Romance, then Spring Breakers just might be for you.

If you prefer a movie with a script, a sense of direction and sans James Franco doing his best Gary Oldman-in-True Romance impersonation, stay far, far away.

Personally, I hated this piece of junk with enough vitriol to fill the ocean surrounding that panhandle state where many East Coast college students go to party their faces off. It's vapid, repetitious, unfunny and downright annoying to watch. Considering the cast assembled, and the notion of four college girls going on a crime spree so they can afford a spring break trip, I thought I was in for some fun.

The film plays out as if Sofia Coppola decided to make a Girls Gone Wild video. Director Harmony Korine (who wrote the extremely hard-to-watch Kids back in the day) is shooting for some sort of dreamscape feel, replete with trance music, people talking slow, and slow, slow visuals. Given what the characters are actually doing and saying, he achieves something closer to a bad-mushroom-induced nightmare than dreamscape.

Candy (Hudgens), Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are bored at college, and they'll do anything for a break. They knock over a chicken restaurant, get some money and head to Florida, where they will wear nothing but bikinis for the remainder of the film.

After a night of snorting cocaine off boobies, they are arrested and then eventually bailed out by Alien (Franco), an underground rapper with a big grill, lots of guns, and a bed covered with money.

I thought that Franco's appearance would take the movie in a fun, gangster direction. Such is not the case, because Korine's screenplay is virtually nonexistent and his editing style requires footage and dialogue to repeat again and again. So you essentially feel stuck in place watching much of this movie.

Gomez's Faith does say she wishes one could just press a freeze button and make spring break last forever, so perhaps that's why Korine went for his repetitive, loopy vibe. I think it's because he didn't have enough real material for a 90-minute movie.

There are no moments in this film where it feels as if performers actually had to learn some lines. Take, for instance, a scene in which Franco is describing the contents of Alien's room. It's as if Korine just turns a camera on, tells Franco to ramble about the stuff in the room, and calls that a take. Yes, many films are full of improv moments, but Spring Breakers feels like one terribly long, extremely unsuccessful improv.

There is one semi-inspired sequence in the film, with Alien showing off his sensitive side by singing the Britney Spears ballad "Everytime." The moment is accompanied by footage of Alien and the girls robbing and beating spring breakers in slow motion. It's almost funny.

For every moment that is almost good, there are 10 that are not. Franco also throws together a song about one of the girls needing to return home after getting shot in the arm. You won't be humming this one to yourself on the drive home.

Korine has directed features before (Julien Donkey-Boy being one of them). He's also directed a lot of music videos. This movie stands as his longest, most pointless music video.

In the hands of a more playful director, there could've been a fun movie to be had with Spring Breakers. The basic plotline is ripe for some nasty, cynical satire. Too bad that idea isn't accompanied by at least half of a decent script.

Spring Breakers
Rated R · 94 minutes · 2013
Official Site: www.springbreakersmovie.com
Director: Harmony Korine
Producer: Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Jordan Gertner, Chris Hanley, David Zander, Vikram Chatwal, Chris Contogouris, Megan Ellison and Ted Field
Cast: James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Heather Morris, Emma Holzer, Gucci Mane and Ash Lendzion


More by Bob Grimm

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Portland Mercury Girls Gone Wilder Spring Breakers says a lot about you. by Wm. Steven Humphrey 03/20/2013
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