“Spring Breakers” follows the story of four sexy, bikini-clad college girls who, as part of that American teen rite of passage, spring break, break away from the sterility of college work and shared dorms to its hedonist antidote of drugs, sex and partying.
Things go wrong, they’re busted for a drug-related misdemeanor and are rescued by their knight in shining armor – a gold tooth flashing, hip hop spewing, gun toting, fast car driving, money splurging, hair braided James Franco as Alien, a low life gangsta drug dealer and pimp.
It is with him in his world of drugs and danger and death that the girls come into their own.
Perhaps writer/director Harmony Korine (who has given us such movie classics as “Snowballs”, “Umshini Wann”, “Act da Fool” and “Trash Humpers”) was suggesting that as day to day living becomes less and less inhibited (after all, you don’t need Florida spring break for sex, drugs and rock n’ roll) the need to escape to your own existential self (he makes heavy weather of the girls intoning that they’re really truly themselves at last) demands greater extremism.
Truly intense pleasure, he suggests, goes beyond the mere physical – sex and drugs – to the satisfaction of deeper desires – for them it’s money and power. In one scene, we see one of the girls (they’re mainly –deliberately – undistinguishable one from the next: three hot blondes and the religious one, who stands out for being brunette) writhing erotically upon a bed of bank notes and cooing, “ooh money makes my pussy wet”.
It is as two of the girls wearing pink Pussy Riot balaclavas shoot everyone in sight that they come… into their own. The essence of being American, it is suggested, eventually all comes down to money, guns and violence.
At least, that is what he would have us think.
It’s Mr. Korine’s excuse for ninety minutes of soft porn titillation. Not that I have anything against ninety minutes of soft porn titillation…just don’t dress it up as anything more. Which is why “Spring Breakers” is a profoundly dishonest film. Whereas Tarantino uses a B-movie palette to craft stories that are quite distinctly Tarantino-esque with that brilliant dialog he’s so well credited as demonstrating, this trashy film pretends to be using the grammar of the sexploitation beach and sex movie to make a deeper statement about the human condition.
When really he’s using the excuse of making a statement to revel in exploitation.
Despite its crudeness, James Franco was excellent and invested a sense of reality in a movie that had precious little of it. He needs a better agent that man.