Review: Spring Breakers

A24 Films: (L-r) Selena Gomez, Rachel Korine, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson in "Spring Breakers"Success in the world of entertainment after starting your career as a child star can be difficult to sustain. Assuming you avoid all of the pitfalls that a youngster with idle hands and an ample bankroll may be presented with, shedding that youthful and innocent image that turned you into a celebrity is usually a tough task that you’re guaranteed to come face to face with. So, how would someone in this predicament elude the trap of being forever branded as a child star? According to some beliefs, starring in an adult themed movie like Spring Breakers just might do the trick.

Speaking of attempting to create a more mature image for a star who’s now legally an adult, that’s where we find Selena Gomez as she stars in Harmony Korine’s R rated flick. In Spring Breakers, Gomez plays Faith, a young college student looking for a good time. Faith is the type of girl who goes to church and lives a very conservative lifestyle in her small town where nothing ever happens. One only needs just a quick look into her life to see why she’s deprived and thinks the grass is greener on the other side of things.

The church girl just wants to have fun and she also has a trio of friends (Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) who are in a situation that’s somewhat similar to her own. Like her, they want to have the time of their lives, but they are also more on the opposite side of her more prudent behavior. They’re more on the raunchy and provocative side of life that can create a small sense of adventure in a quiet town like the one they reside in.This time of the year is where those lines start to blur as what they want for their immediate future leads all of them to dream about a party on the beach.

For them, that beach would be located where a ton of college students are celebrating their spring break. Every year, that fantasy hits a snag for the girls, because none of them can afford to fulfill their spring breaking fantasies filled with drugs, booze and sex. They’ve tried saving money, but it’s hard to save what you can’t get and it doesn’t look as if there’s a lot that can be done about it. That is until three of the young women come up with a plan for spring break that will net them the money they need in order for all of them to visit their desired destination.

The youthful and energetic quartet set their sights on the great state of Florida to spend their time during their spring break vacation. They run around having a good time doing all of the things they couldn’t do in their bland existence back home. Each and every one of the them wants to experience the adventure they lack and the joy they’re finding doesn’t appear to be something that they want to let go of.

The first part of Spring Breakers essentially follows these girls around as they experience the perks of spring break. There’s no story here nor is there even a slight hint of substance being showcased on the screen. Everything that the audience is witnessing at this time basically comes down to the camera watching people party and gyrate while they drink, sniff certain illegal substances and get naked. There’s really nothing to spoil here, because this is all there really is outside of a scene that I purposely skipped when describing what’s going on.

Anyway, once they get into the partying that they wanted to be a part of so badly, they manage to catch the attention of a gangster rapper who calls himself Alien (James Franco). He’s a White kid who’s from the hoods of Florida and has made a name for himself in the drug game over the years. He hopes to translate all of that work into an honest living that sees him become a huge rapper doing performances across the world.

Once he charms the girls, and gets to know them a bit better, Alien introduces them to a world that they would have never imagined being a part of. Soon after that, the party atmosphere that Faith and her friends craved for becomes begins to take a turn toward a scarier aspect of life as their fun in the sun turns dark as they go deeper into the world that Alien was born and raised in. From there, the girls time in Florida not only includes drugs, sex and booze, it also welcomes potential murder to the dance.

The second part of Spring Breakers has more of a violent edge to t I guess, but it’s done in nearly the same way. It’s focus is more on the life of Alien and it has a bit more of a story involved. The whole thing is just wacky and it’s hard to take any of it seriously or anything. I sat back wondering what was going on, because I hadn’t really seen anything like this before. I don’t think calling this a movie would be accurate. It’s weird and it literally left me baffled.

I’d describe the first portion of Spring Breakers by saying it’s kind of like those Girls Gone Wild videos that used to come out years ago. It’s non-stop partying with topless chicks and people yelling. The second portion feels as if someone gave a crackhead a camera and some material to write a script and told him to come up with a story while he’s high. I’ve never done any kind of drugs and I would always advice against doing them, but I’m assuming this may be what it feels like at its best.

I left the theater thinking “WTF did I just see?” This is one of those rare times where I can’t say if something that I just finished watching was bad or good. Spring Breakers is too bad and too unstructured to be good, but it’s too engaging (thanks to James Franco) and too weird for me to call it out-and-out bad. It just is what it is. I don’t know if I should even try to think of it in any other way, because I don’t think it is anything more than that.

Because of all that it’s not (a movie), I can’t allow myself to give this a positive score. I don’t hate it, but it’s not really a movie and it has no real structure or value. Will it help Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens be seen as more mature in the long run? It’s a start I guess, but they’d both be better off choosing movies that actually show off some skill that they may or may not have. Especially Selena Gomez. She doesn’t do much outside of speaking a few lines, pouting and smiling every now and then.

For everyone that’s going to see Spring Breakers when they get the chance, you will see a lot of nudity from plenty of chicks during its 92 minute running time, but you won’t get to see Ms. Gomez or Ms. Hudgens without their bathing suits. I know some of you are probably going in wanting to see that, but you’d be disappointed. They’re trying to be more mature, but they haven’t gone that far for a feature yet. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. I don’t care either way.

Score: 2/5

Rating: R

Director: Harmony Korine

Cast:
James Franco
Selena Gomez
Vanessa Hudgens
Ashley Benson
Rachel Korine
Gucci Mane
Jeff Jarrett

Film Length: 92 minutes

Release Date: March 22, 2013

Distributor: A24 Films