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Spring Breakers | The Clapper Bored

Spring Breakers

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.

spring breakers
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Title: Spring Breakers
Director: Harmony Korine
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)

2 Comments

  1. Freddie Clode says:

    Harsh review. I think you missed the point, the film’s narrative does not pretend to be profound in anyway. It has recived such great reviews because it conjures up the escapism one wants to experience when going on “spring break”. It takes this past its logical extremes, which only makes the film more absurd, however I think the actors are aware of this absurdity. The final scene is a wink to the audience, as the film reaches a ridiculous conclusion. Not to be taken literally. Not to be marked down for the obvious plot line. To be purely enjoyed for what it is, a fun and wholly ridiculous film, where everything is larger and lounder than it would be in reality…

    • Nick says:

      I would agree, except for the fact that I’m aware of Korine’s earlier work and know what his MO as a director is. Spring Breakers isn’t just celebrating spring break, in the same way that Trash Humpers isn’t just about old people humping trash.