Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Breakers

If you’re between the ages of 15 and 25 and are a fan of Honey Boo Boo and Britney Spears, you’ll probably enjoy Writer/Director Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers in the same light as the protest generation of the ‘60s enjoyed Easy Rider.   Depending on the size of that demographic, the film could become successful, perhaps even a midnight-showing cult classic.  However, if you’re outside of that demographic, Spring Breakers can, literally, lull you into a drug-free stupor.

Three fund-less college girls, Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Coty (Rachel Korine) decide to rob a diner to get the money to go to Florida for Spring Break, collegians’ traditional rite-of-passage for over a half-century.  They enroll Faith (Selena Gomez), the more religious member of the quartet, to go with them.

When illicit partying at the bacchanal gets them arrested, the girls are bailed out by a drug/arms dealer named Alien (James Franco), who wants them to do some work in exchange.  Here the “fun” gets murkier, ultimately, leading to murder and survivors Candy and Brit riding off to more excitement á la Thelma and Louise.
There is a “rule” in writing thriller novels that you need to repeat key plot points at least  3 times, so they will sink in for the reader.  Applying this concept to film, Screenwriter Korine has his actors repeat the same lines 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or more times, I guess so the Honey Boo Boo fans will understand heavy dialogue like, “I think you’re afraid.”  It gets to the point where your skin crawls.
The film is amazingly boring, yet, I must admit that it's often mesmerizing, thanks to the excellent cinematography of Benoît Debie.


Along with Debie, James Franco, much more at home in this role than he was in Oz, The Great and Powerful, saves the film from complete boredom with the complexities of the silver-toothed Alien. 


The ladies, unfortunately, look like they’re playing dress-up or, in this case, dress-down to be sexy.  Hudgens and Benson do look sexy to some extent, especially when Debie takes advantage of the neon colors Costumer Heidi Bivens gives them; the other two, not so much.  But, the problem is that they all look too L.A. to be any more scintillating than Barbie.
For the above-mentioned demographic base, I’ll give Spring Breakers a 3+ out of 5; for the rest of us a 2.
In full disclosure, I must confess that I dozed for a few moments at the point Selena Gomez’ character left the story.  I’m assuming she returned home of her own accord and was not harmed.  I, obviously, was so overwhelmed by the excitement that I had to take a brief rest.  Mea culpa.

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