If our recent ice storm has you dreaming of spring, I have the cure for you. Not the cure that takes you where you want to go from your own living room, but the cure that makes you never want to think about spring again. Specifically, Spring Break. More specifically “Spring Breakers,” a pseudo-shocking, recent entry in the ongoing, extremely competitive, worst-movie-ever-made contest.
Perhaps, in the 1990s, obnoxiously named filmmaker Harmony Korine traumatized you with his gross slice of life “Kids.” If so, you should’ve known better than to trust him with any of the hours of your life again. If not, I’ll catch you up. “Spring Breakers” is the movie that everyone talked about because it had former female Disney stars (Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens) debauched and defiled and scantily clad.
Because that’s a novel, noteworthy, socially relevant occurrence. I’m afraid Miley Cyrus might have stolen some of the trampy thunder on this movie, making it that much less legitimate. I guess I’m not in agreement that being debased is a rite of passage all females must go through in order to be taken seriously as adult film stars. Unless, of course, they want to be that kind of Adult Film Star.
You know who does think this journey is important though? Harmony Korine. And he certainly helped usher these young ladies into adulthood. The story, such as it is, concerns four college girls, wandering around their campus, dreaming of getting out of there for Spring Break in Florida. They do plenty of partying right there, but it’s not enough. The glaring exception is Selena Gomez’s character, who sulkily attends a Bible reading, where some of her uptight friends remind her to pray hard in Florida, because she’s heading down there with some girls who are bad news. And, despite the fact that they have random Southern accents, they aren’t wrong.
In order to fund their plans, the girls (minus Gomez) steal a car and gleefully rob a small local restaurant. Short on remorse but high on cash, they hit the road, with the shy, religious Gomez in tow. What follows is a series of titillating-yet-boring montages of bare breasts and lots of beer. Was this depiction of outlandish behavior intended to be an indictment of it? Were we supposed to be horrified of how women act and are treated? Because the funny thing is, a movie about terrible exploitation looks itself just like exploitation to me.
What’s the difference between how the filmmaker judges gyrating, topless, very young women, and the gentlemen who shake alcohol all over them? He sure as hell filmed a lot of them, up real close. And at mind-numbing length. The other thing about this movie was the pacing. We could have done with a great deal less in the hallucinogenic, atmospheric, endless scenes of debauchery department. All the while, the reality of what the kids are doing is contrasted with this phone call Gomez makes to her Grandma, in which she sweetly describes how much fun they’re having, all the friends they’re making, and how she wants to bring her Grandma back with her next year.
At any rate, these downy innocents party their barely covered rear ends off, until they get busted and thrown in the slammer. All the while, they are wearing nothing but these terrible little bikinis; it made my skin crawl. That’s when James Franco shows up, in the form of an outrageous rapping gangster named Alien. I’m sure Franco was totally pleased with his cornrows and grill, and considered this transformation yet another notch in his Renaissance man belt.
He breaks the girls, along with the menacing twins who provided the cocaine that got them in trouble, out of jail, and everything goes really well after that. I mean, if you consider the switch from hard partying, casual drug user to full on gun toting gangster “going really well.” Alien and two of the wildest girls do, while two others finally, mercifully, head for the proverbial hills.
I just hope they took a good, hot shower when they got back to school, and loaded up on antibiotics. That’s the overwhelming urge I developed from watching this movie, along with the desire to turn the silly thing off. And invest in a good, sensible, beach cover-up.