“Spring Breakers” is looking for a reaction and, considering the hit-or-miss reviews has provoked, it has succeeded. At face value, “Spring Breakers” it is a cynical social commentary on the seasonal bacchanal that is spring break. Interweaving the present and ominous flash frames with some…interesting motifs sprinkled in (repeat for 90 minutes: sprang breeeaaak, sprang breaaaaaaak 4 evaaaa), Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” follows four friends to St. Petersburg as they drink, smoke, and party incessantly as to distance themselves from their dreary college lives. (SPOILER ALERT: it’s really the story of three friends because Faith, played by Selena Gomez, ducks out early, thus successfully breaking the Disney mold without having to snort cocaine off of some dude’s chest à la Vanessa Hudgens’, aka Baby V, character Candy).
The guns, coke, and tits lose their initial shock value and “rawness” and even Alien’s, played by James Franco, golden grills become lackluster. If I wanted a poignant lens down the glamorized path of self-destruction, I would just read self-proclaimed “amphetamine queen” Cat Marnell’s musings on the death of Whitney Houston, but what kept me in my seat was the anticipation for what would come next. Unfortunately all Korine managed to bring was more of the same shots of girls prancing around in bikinis until the anticlimactic final shootout. Though the lack of resolve at the end may have been purposeful, it was unsatisfying and frustrating (perhaps an obvious parallel to a junkie’s search for the elusive high, or whatever).
“Spring Breakers” wasn’t edgy or transgressive – it was just another movie with hypnotic cinematography that depended on the shock value of sex, violence, and drugs to seem interesting and relevant. I can look past the unnecessary nudity, the “realistic” yet underwhelming dialog, and even the bizarre scene in which Alien deep throats a loaded gun, but I was disappointed with Korine’s objectification of the female leads. Degrading the three women to interchangeable harpies shouldn’t be a statement or the point of the movie– it’s just a cop out for a lack of ideas and lazy writing.
Overall grade: C-
Not worth seeing UNLESS you:
a) Can’t get into “The Place Beyond the Pines”
b) Want to feel better about your own spring break
c) Are inebriated (sprang break 4 eva)
d) Can’t find a clip of James Franco singing Britney Spears’ “Everytime”