film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spring Breakers 2013 * * Stars

Director: Harmony Korine
Year: 2013
Rated R
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Vanessa Hudgens, James Franco, Ashley Benson

OK picture this: Four college kids (Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, and Rachel Korine) are bored with their existence. It's Spring Break and everyone at their school has already left. With little money in their pockets and in a drug fueled haze, they decide to rob a fast food restaurant to bankroll a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida for Spring Break madness. While living it up, these girls are befriended by a gangster/rapper named Alien (James Franco) who draws them back into a life of crime with more mischief and mayhem. That's the basic idea behind Spring Breakers, a mindless farce that's kind of a cross between the films Point Break (1991) and True Romance (1993). However, it's the rude stepchild of both of them. A sort of poor man's hangover version if you will.

First off, Spring Breakers is a monumental case of an exercise that is all style and no substance. Possessing a couple of well done sequences and an Oscar worthy performance, it painstakingly thinks that it's a better movie than it really is. You also get the feeling that the cast felt the same way, like they were making a uncompromising college film classic. With a slew of former teen actresses who are all now in their twenties, this vehicle was probably chosen as the type of work that would shed their wholesome good girl image. However, the idea of these girls playing characters who infiltrate a fast food restaurant and put guns in people's faces is ridiculous and sad. What's even more sad is how disorienting this mid-March release is. There is never enough time to take in anything on screen especially the tone at which actors are gauging. Director Harmony Korine is obsessed with cutting from one thing to the next, and I know it's a Spring Break theme movie, but he has an annoying habit of constantly panning from an important plot point to a bunch of half naked woman doing alcohol shots.

That's why you have to hand it to actor James Franco for literally saving "Breakers" from being a total disaster. He shows up halfway in the movie and to his credit, he makes the other cast members look better despite their limited acting range. Alas, everything in "Breakers" kind of slows down to tell a more coherent story the minute he's on screen. It's a shame he wasn't inserted in the proceedings earlier because his performance is downright Oscar worthy.

With the exception of Franco being the only true bright spot, there is one more flaw in this film that sticks out like a sore thumb. A lot of the script is tainted with dangling loose ends. You get the feeling that the actors didn't have much to say toward the end of the dialogue. The solution: Yell out the words SPPRRIINNGG BREEAAK! or SPRRIINNGG BRREEAAK FOR EVVEERR! Utter nonsense. That's why I can't possibly recommend this movie. It continues the trend in today's dreck where there is sort of this lousy MTV style of not letting a shot just pan out. You know, keeping a scene in frame for longer than a couple of seconds. Therefore, in truth, we need a immediate "break" from films like this.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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