BY DAN METCALF
Clipper Film Correspondent
Rated R for strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence throughout.
Starring James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Gucci Mane.
Written and Directed by Harmony Korine.
GRADE: zero stars
For many college students, Spring Break is a rite of passage; a time for indulging in all kinds of debauchery and blowing off a little steam. For writer/director Harmony Korine, the annual twenty-something mecca to tropical beaches was the inspiration for Spring Breakers, the story of four college girls on a crime spree during Spring Break.
At this point in most of my reviews, I usually provide a plot synopsis – but since Spring Breakers doesn't really have a plot, I will digress and keep it brief. Suffice to say the movie is about four college girls who rob a fried chicken stand to obtain the cash they need to travel to Florida. The quartet consists of Cotty (Harmony's wife Rachel Korine), Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), and Faith (Selena Gomez). After robbing the chicken stand, the girls go to Florida and party down until they end up in jail. A rapper/drug lord named Alien (James Franco) bails the girls out and recruits them as his new posse. Faith (being the innocent Christian of the group) denies Alien's request and heads back to school. The other girls jump into Alien's world, leading them into conflict with a rival drug lord (Gucci Mane). That's pretty much it, and I really don't care if anyone sees this as a spoiler.
Spring Breakers is one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time, and that's saying something. I suppose Korine was going for some kind of satire in the film, but even if the bad acting, inane, repetitive dialogue and overindulgent tableau were intentional, all we are left with is extremely awful movie.
I also suppose that the casting of two iconic Disney “princesses” (Gomez and Hudgens) in a film full of sex, nudity, binge drinking, heavy drug use, gun play and violence was also meant to inspire shock and awe, but it's less ironic than it is uncomfortable and disgusting. Gomez avoids any nudity or sex, but Hudgens jumps into all kinds of sordid behavior – a far cry from her role in the High School Musical series. Their performances are nothing more than awful caricatures, pretending to be the worst of people they could imagine, while using ridiculous southern accents.
Equally dreadful is Franco, who seems to be impersonating every stereotypical white guy who tries to be an urban black thug, right down to his cornrow hairstyle. Perhaps it's just another failed attempt at satire, but Franco's performance is more annoying than comical. Speaking of annoying things, one of the most irritating audio devices used by Korine is the continual use of a loud gun cocking sound that rings out in every scene transition. By the end of the film, you just hope the characters will use guns on themselves and put the audience out of their misery.
So even if you're tempted by some sort of perverted compulsion to see how far Disney princesses will go, do yourself a favor and stay away from Spring Breakers at all costs. This terrible movie isn't worth your time.