Spring Breakers: Disney stars gone wild

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Best friends since childhood, Faith (Selena Gomez), Cotty (Rachel Korine), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) rob a local chicken shack to go on the spring break of a lifetime. This colorfully shot social commentary from writer/director Harmony Korine is violent, sexy and completely bonkers.

Victor Dos Santos, Assistant A&E Editor

Unconventional director Harmony Korine has recently ventured into linear narrative in his newest film Spring Breakers, which made a quiet entrance into limited release mid-March.  Writer/director Harmony Korine’s take on “the American dream,” is about as unique as it is melancholy.  What’s weird is that this colorful, meditative and at times daunting social commentary never reaches a level of outrageousness that one would expect.  The nudity is gratuitous, James Franco is amazing, and the soundtrack is hypnotic, yet the film maintains a consistent and contemplative pace throughout.

It’s about four girls, two of whom are played by former Disney icons Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, who rob their local chicken shack to go on spring break.   Once actually on spring break, a series of montages ensue that feature extensive partying, excessive nudity, and exorbitant drug-use.

The girls are eventually arrested for narcotics possession, only to be bailed out by the eccentric gangster known as Alien, played by James Franco.  Alien escalates the film’s intensity within seconds when he decides to introduce the girls to the life of crime he describes as “the American dream.”

It isn’t much longer until we see the girls donning pink ski masks and carrying AK-47s in yet another montage, this time backed by Britney Spears music.

From there on out, things just get weird: the dialogue starts to repeat itself, scenes are shown in a non-consecutive order and widespread debauchery ensues.

It’s clear that Korine looks down on the lifestyle embraced by the characters in his film.  Things start off light with Tampa Bay beach parties and gradually spin out of control as the film ends with a very violent shoot-out that is a lot more upsetting than it is cool.

Korine gives the film this slick and eye-popping look to contrast the grimy and disgusting world that American youths at times choose to welcome with open arms.  The film makes sure to let audiences know that the activities these characters participate in denote downright insanity.

In that respect, Spring Breakers is kind of brilliant.  Through vivid, picturesque and even haunting imagery accompanied by a dense and entrancing soundscape that features a score by Cliff Martinez and Skrillex, we’re introduced to what makes this lifestyle so alluring.

Korine manages to not only make his bizarre and nightmarish vision come to life, but also get the performance of a lifetime from James Franco as a grill-toothed, mayhem-inducing gangster.  His performance is more wild and out-there than the movie itself, which unfortunately makes apparent some of the film’s flaws.  Franco outshines every other actor here, including the four “spring breakers” Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine.  Unfortunately, the things that made the film so unique were at times the most bothersome. For example, the film’s choice to repeat lines of dialogue over and over and over again just starts to get annoying.

Spring Breakers, despite its flaws, is slick, disgusting, slow and completely weird.  It’s the kind of movie that warrants at least one viewing to give audiences a chance to be, at the very least, entranced by the film’s distinctive style and James Franco’s performance as a Riff-Raff look-a-like.