Spring Breakers Review: An Entertaining Vacation That Comes Just Short of Being More

Photo Credit: http://www.billkuchman.com/2012/05/selena-gomez-and-spring-breakers-cast.html

Harmony Korine’s neon, bikini topped bloodfest is the most interesting film of 2013 so far and is destined to achieve a cult status for the late night movie watcher. But interesting doesn’t always pan out to be what we necessarily would call important or rewarding art.

And Spring Breakers certainly is artistic. By taking Disney icons like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens and having them snort blow and shoot guns, Korine has brought to film what Marcel Duchamp brought to art when he put a urinal in an art gallery. “Brilliant!” some will shout. Others will think it’s a spot to take a piss.

The film opens with dubstep blasting over a slow-motion beach party  where the two main objects of focus are breasts and beer funnels. We then meet four college girls (Gomez, Hudgens, Ashley Benson of Pretty Little Liars, and Korine’s wife Rachel) desperate to escape their trivial, routine lives for a wild week of partying in Florida. The only problem is money. So the girls, excluding the religious Faith (Gomez), rob a fast food joint.

Once on spring break, the cops bust a hotel party as our “heroes” snort cocaine off a bare chested woman. Unable to pay the fine, a drug dealing rapper with an impressive gun collection that goes by the name of Alien (James Franco) bails them out because he likes their exploits. As things get worse, a couple of the girls decide to re-enter their normal lives.

Most of the film seems pretty sexist until one of the young ladies ungracefully cleans a bullet wound in the shower. Franco’s performance seems racist until you realize how much you like him. At one point, Alien serenades the girls with Britney Spears’ “Everytime” and they dance in a circle holding onto machine guns rather than each others’ hands. It’s an exaggerated send up of the MTV culture as well as the most basic human desires.

The film delves into such social issues as what the American dream is and how meaningless our lives are. The girls who leave are never seen again because it would be boring to visit them. The girls who stay don’t have a moral ground to stand on as they massacre a ton of people.

And that’s where the problem of Spring Breakers reveals itself. Korine shows us that normal life is so destitute, but then living a constant vacation turns into hell. The storyteller never makes a decision on what the proper way to live should be, making the film pretty hopeless. Korine comes really close to saying something really interesting but doesn’t hit the point home.

Still though, Spring Breakers is gorgeously made and those within the party atmosphere will adore the nauseatingly colorful way life is painted. And I will admit, I was never bored. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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