Devoted fans of Selena Gomez may relax, her squeaky clean image remains intact despite all the buzz surrounding her turn in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, in theaters today. Faith (Selena Gomez) joins three of her college friends on a trip to Florida during spring break. This is after her three friends decided to rob a local diner in order to fund their vacation. Yes, because that’s how most college students decide to make money. (But that would be assuming this movie is trying to be realistic and let’s hope it isn’t). Faith has longed for such an escape and while we hear her voice describing this “wonderful” place she has arrived at, along with all the “really nice people” she has met, we see depictions of all the typical excesses of spring break - lots of drinking, keg stands, and bikini clad bodies, not to mention quite a few bouncing breasts, Girls Gone Wild® style.
Things eventually take a wrong turn for the four girls and they encounter local drug dealer Alien (James Franco in cornrows), their knight in shining armor (definitely shiny teeth, at least). Whatever story was present kind of goes nowhere from here. Same with character development. The only character that we even get to know is Faith through her voiceovers, but she bails early on before things get really crazy.
No doubt Korine (known for penning the Kids
screenplay at the age of 19) wanted to portray the societal hypersexualization of young women, emphasizing his point by using actresses known for achieving popularity through Disney. But many of the scenes seemed quite indulgent and just absurd (Alien leads the girls in a sing and dance montage of a Britney Spears ballad) while others seem intended to be shocking for the sake of shocking. I found myself laughing quite a bit because I found so many parts to be so silly. Yes, silly would indeed be the right word here. I have no idea whether laughing was part of the plan by Korine, but if so, then all the more credit to him.
As for the performances, I bet it was probably a lot more fun to play those characters than to to watch them performed, Franco, especially. I heard he didn’t break character all during filming and it looks like he had a brilliant time being a lowlife ignorant sleazy thug.
Recommendation: Only for the hardcorest of James Franco, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens’ fans.