Spring Breakers

WRITTEN BY: Harmony Korine
DIRECTED BY: Harmony Korine
STARRING: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, James Franco, Rachel Korine
RATING: 2 stars

Spring Breakers is a pointless film with a weak plot and bizarre characters, and yet, there is something about it that is mildly appealing - and it is not the dozens of close up shots of boobs. It feels less like a film in parts and more like a woeful clip from Girls Gone Wild or a really long exploitative music video. With all the sex, drugs and partying depicted in Spring Breakers, males under the age of 25 will love this film if for nothing more than the perving opportunities. I'm no prude, but when a film that only runs for 94 minutes is full of several slow-motion montages of breasts and bikini bottoms that do nothing to progress the plot, you have to wonder why you are watching it. With its theme of repressed young women finally freeing themselves, it is like a DD-grade, underdeveloped Thelma and Louise story.

The loose plot surrounds four girls who hate their small town and cannot wait for spring break. However, with hardly any money saved up for the trip, Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) decide to rob a diner and only tell their religious friend Faith (Selena Gomez) about it afterwards. The four girls then make their way to Spring Break to enjoy all the partying, alcohol, drugs and nudity they can until the police bust one of their parties and they are all arrested. The girls cannot afford the bail price, but local gangster/rapper Alien (James Franco) takes pity on the pretty girls and decides to help them. But at what cost has he bought their freedom?

I have a few general gripes with the plot holes. Firstly, why did the girls not get dressed when they were arrested before they were taken to jail? They even appear in court in their bikinis. In fact, they spend the entire film half naked, no matter what they are doing. Secondly, why are the girls so good with guns? Are we to assume that because they are from a small American town that they are therefore gun lovers? Because, their shooting accuracy is top-notch. It seems to me that writer/director Harmony Korine spent more time thinking about how he was going to film naked bodies than developing his story. Bonus points to him though for the Britney Spears references, especially one scene in which Franco sings at a piano. I won't spoil it with further details. Just know that I was still laughing about it minutes after the scene had ended.

Much has been said about this film being R-rated and such a departure for former Disney stars like Gomez and Hudgens. But with all the boobs on screen, the most you see of these girls is them in bikinis and consuming some drugs. While it is not something you would want a 12-year-old child to see, they are certainly not the target audience here. Benson is the stand-out performer though among the girls. As bad as the film is, it is almost worth seeing just for Franco's portrayal of Alien. He has based his character on a real person and it is a remarkable performance. He is seedy, creepy and hilarious, and steals every scene.

If spring break in real life has the potential to be anything like this film's depiction, then seeing Spring Breakers is enough to put so much fear in parents that they will never let their children out of their sight ever again.