"Spring Breakers" swings between moments of enchantment and tedium with more regularity than any film in recent memory. For better or worse, it also happens to be entirely unforgettable.
Some will call it art. Others will call it trash. Being a Harmony Korine ("Gummo" and "Trash Humpers") film, such labels are futile, since he never tries to distinguish between the two.
What begins as an obnoxious MTV special ultimately transforms into a trippy, beautiful nightmare -- and arguably the most ringing endorsement for birth control in cinematic history.
The superficiality of youth culture has been mined again and again for cinematic purposes. What's next, another look at Wall Street greed? But the presentation is so hypnotic you won't much mind the easy target.
|» Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars|
|» Starring: James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine|
|» Director: Harmony Korine|
|» Rated: R for strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence throughout|
|» Running time: 94 minutes|
Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are dead set on spring break in Florida. When their evangelical friend Faith (Selena Gomez) has no ideas for money, the trio of blonde hell-raisers decides to rob a diner. Shot from the exterior of the restaurant and then replayed later from the customers' viewpoint, the contrast in style is one of the many times Korine toys with perspective, creating a slow drip of dread building up to an explosive finale.
"Pretend like it's a video game," becomes the group's motto and the rationale for a whole lot of subsequent debauchery. Sometimes it works. At others, it feels like nothing more than needless repetition.
If you've heard anything about the movie, it's probably that Korine tapped ex-Disney starlets to parade around with big guns, clad in bikinis and pink ski masks. So parents: Keep your kids away. Everybody else: See "Spring Breakers" if you're desperate for a departure from the endless parade of retreads hitting the big screen.
For my money, the star here is James Franco, playing a wanna-be gangster with cornrows, grillz for teeth and "Scarface" on loop at his house. It's a brilliant move on Franco's part after playing the lead in the family-friendly prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" -- nothing wooden about this performance.
But as a whole, the effort seems like more of an impressive collection of scenes than a totally cohesive experience. Ironically, it's the booze-soaked moments that are dullest, totally eclipsed by the quiet, horrifying glimpses at introspection. Like Korine's other films, this will likely develop a cult following. Considering my own inability to shake this twisted version of spring break, I can't really object.