Spring Breakers (2013)
Directed by Harmony Korine
Comedy Central’s Roast of James Franco last night was filled with more let-downs than put-downs. I guess that’s what they get for filling the dais with his best friends. But nothing about my night was more disappointing than Franco’s “Spring Breakers,” the noir-ish party anthem with kegs full of potential but no execution.
Disney sweethearts Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, “Pretty Little Liars” star Ashley Benson, and director Harmony Korine’s wife Rachel are four college girls hoping to escape their lives of monotony by traveling to Florida for their first real spring break. It’s so important, in fact, that they’ll rob a family-owned diner to afford it. Once they arrive, the only pause in their constant partying is a bust by the cops. Thankfully, a local rapper by the name of Alien (Franco) bails them out. But he wants something in return.
What could have been a thrilling crime-noir is reduced to slow-motion boobs and solo cups with a stale mix of techno tunes. Instead of an unforgettable display of acting chops, we see the decline of all the child actresses we used to love. And we see James Franco act a fool. A creepy, uncomfortable display of sexuality and brashness we weren’t expecting. Or hoping for. Or the least bit enjoying.
And even if it was awkward and uncomfortable, it could have at least piqued my interest. Instead, it was slow, boring, irrelevant, and unoriginal. Once I heard Alien’s reference to Scarface and “living the dream,” I knew what we had wasn’t an original character (or at least as original as he looked) but a composite of every gangster and drug dealer we’ve ever seen on screen. And the lack of depth in the four girls is upsetting. Excepting the one who actually seems to have any morals, the girls seem only to care about partying – mostly booze and boys. It may be part of the reason that they’re so hard to tell apart.
“Spring Breakers” as a source of entertainment sucked. What did it do sufficiently well? Things like costume design, cinematography, editing, and lighting made “Spring Breakers” look at times institutional, at times fluorescent, but at all times a remarkably artistic picture to look at. But no one ever said “You should watch this movie. It has incredible lighting.” And I’m not either.
It felt like “Spring Breakers” forever. But thankfully it only wastes your time for 94 minutes.