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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cute Girls Gone Wild

To the unwary, 'Spring Breakers' appears on the surface to be just another piece of mindless cultural pop candy in the tradition of ‘Clueless,’ ‘The House Bunny’ and ‘Mean Girls.’  After all, the movie took its name from that annual tradition of collegiate excess and hedonism which takes place around this time every year at Fort Lauderdale and many other picturesque beach-side locales, not to mention its shamelessly exploitative poster featuring four comely young women in string bikinis certainly suggests it as such.  Girls just wanna have fun, right?   
 
Well, not quite.  This film is the brainchild of indie auteur Harmony Korine, which means you should never judge it by its cover.   While 'Spring Breakers' is initially about four pretty and bored-out-of-their-minds BFF's who sought to have fun at spring break, the movie slowly takes a darker detour as the girls first find themselves in jail, then at the mercy of a small-time drug dealer named 'Alien,' played to some comedic effect by James Franco.  'Alien,' you see, is one of those black-wannabe white boys who look and talk a certain way and act all 'gangsta rap,' as if that will give them serious street creds.  But I don't know.... he also plays Britney Spears on the piano.  Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez shed their ‘good girl’ Disney-fied image in this 'coming-of-age' movie, even though Selena’s character Faith is a ‘Jesus freak’ and turned out to be not nearly as bad as her ex-boyfriend in real life, Justin Bieber, who I heard recently threw a 'pot party.'   The other two roles were rounded out nicely by ‘Pretty Little Liar’ Ashley Benson and Harmony’s own wife Rachel.  In case you're wondering, she's the third one from the left below with the hot pink hairdo.
 
While 'Spring Breakers' isn't exactly a fun movie to watch, the movie does earn high marks for its fierce and uncompromising style.  Part 'Girls Gone Wild' T&A peepshow, part 'Girls with Guns' sexploitation grindhouse B-movie and part cautionary tale on the perils of spring break excess, the movie does remind us why Werner Herzog went so far as to christen Korine as "the future of American cinema."  And to think this is his most mainstream 'commercial' movie to date. 
 
Grade: B
 
No butts about it, the girls find themselves falling a bit 'behind' in all the fun.... 
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