For all the hipster raving about its ‘credibility’, there’s been quite a lot of, well-judged but sniffy, cynicism reserved for Spring Breakers. The conceit of having former Disney stars doing TOTALLY OUTRAGEOUS things is not exactly original, and the trailers could hardly have looked more vapid if they’d tried. Korine fans will argue that that’s the whole point, but the detractors will find it hard to overlook the fact that criticising excess with excess, is traditionally the remit of such cinematic luminaries as Michael Bay and Baz Luhrmann. Spring Breakers turns out to be little more than that, but given that its intention is to show hot girls in bikinis for 90 minutes, it’s pretty successful in that department.
The plot where there is one, sees a group of college girls (Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Harmony Korine’s out of place wife) heading down to Florida for spring break. They get the money for this little trip by robbing a diner, a plot device that weirdly doesn’t come back to haunt them. Instead, they end up in jail for drug use and are bailed out by James Franco (having a great time as the cornrowed gangster). From there, they fall into a spiral of sex, drugs and crime, that becomes less and less interesting, like the exposition breaks in Project X or the buffering advert to a Ke$ha video.
The problem with Spring Breakers is really that it’s not clever enough. There’s no satire really, just a presentation of excess that you can snicker at. But most of the film’s audiences are going to desire that excess, because it’s shot in a fetishistic, pornographic way. It’s also quite a lot more boring than you’d expect- mixing MTV with arthouse pretensions ends up being quite turgid, party scenes punctuated by faux-philosophical musings, underwater sequences and random flashes of neon. James Franco almost redeems the movie with a fine comedic performance, but, by the end, the movie has lost all semblance of discipline and traction, and becomes a frothy mess for perverts.
A disappointing arthouse movie that doesn’t really meet the entrance requirements. Worth seeing for Franco, just about.
|Starring:||Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, James Franco, Ashley Benson, Harmony Korine's wife|
|Running Time:||Less than 2 hours|
|Certificate:||18 (but milder than you'd think)|