Girls squatting and peeing on the street. Guys snorting lines of coke off bare breasts. Girls in faux lesbian poses. Guys cradling their junk like a newborn. Yes, these are all scenes you could see on a Gold Coast street any night of the week. They also make up the duration of Harmony Korine’s film Spring Breakers. ‘Film’ is a liberal word to describe what Spring Breakers is. Essentially it’s 15 music videos linked together with loose lines of dialogue that tell you repeatedly the characters are on Spring Break in varying volumes. They whisper seductively at the audience “Spring Break”, James Franco’s pseudo gangsta rapper drawls the word “Spring Brrrreak”, Vanessa Hudgens often screams “SPRING BREAK BITCHES!” Whether this film was originally pitched at an audience of dementia patients, it is uncertain. Yet if you played a drinking game where you took a shot every time a character said the word “Spring Break” you would be dead by the end of the film.
So, yes, Spring Breakers is about Spring Break. Specifically it’s about four white trash girls at college in a nowhere town who can’t find the money to go on Spring Break with all the other white trash girls (despite being able to afford weed, booze, and other stimulants that cost money). These chicks love dick (as illustrated in an, er, illustration) and they love to party. They also have no redeeming qualities. Even the religious member of the group, Selena Gomez’ Faith (see what he did there?) is a non-committal pain in the ass. They end up robbing a local diner and with the loot hit up the beaches of Florida and – after an arrest for possession – become the harem of rapper Alien (James Franco). And just so you don’t forget his name, there is alien-emblazoned stuff on every surface, t-shirt and visible space that he’s in the vicinity of.
Look, it’s hard to hate a film that truly doesn’t give a fuck whether you like it or not. And yet, somehow I managed to. There are moments of genuine hilarity – most involving the use of Britney Spears songs – and moments where you scream at the events unfolding before you. In fact, there was one particular moment that caused me to storm out of the room in frustration. Spring Breakers invokes a strong reaction. It’s what Korine has set out to do by creating a cast of completely unlikable characters doing completely unlikable things for 94 minutes.
Benoit Debie’s cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful and brings a distinct sense of hyper reality to the proceedings. Yet at the end of the of the day, even if you beautifully film someone furiously masturbating into a plastic bag you’re still filming someone furiously masturbating into a plastic bag. That’s what Spring Breakers is: a pretty wank.
Like a cross between Showgirls and Drive, Spring Breakers doesn’t manage to reach its lofty aspirations. Instead of being a cringe-worthy commentary on Generation Now, it’s an artsy piece of exploitative bullshit that leaves no lasting message.
Maria Lewis - follow Maria on Twitter here: @moviemazz