Before I begin telling you about Spring Breakers—Harmony Korine’s latest mindfuck of a borderline-terrible masterpiece—I have a serious question for you guys. Has anyone ever actually been on a spring break trip before? Like, I’m talking about the kind of trip that takes place at some tacky sun-drenched locale and is filled with tits, booze, and low self-esteem. The kind of trip that MTV used to capture on film and broadcast to millions of impressionable pre-teens like myself who then told their parents, “I can’t wait until I’m in college so I can go on spring break and have a stranger lick whipped cream off my body!” Because I’ve never done it and I don’t know anyone else who has. It makes me wonder if this “rite of passage” in college has become extinct. Perhaps people are no longer populating these shithole towns for a week, destroying it and themselves, before quickly abandoning it like a ghost town to return back to their humdrum life of house parties and midterms. Maybe spring break, as we know it, is officially dunzo.
If this is true, if the time-honored tradition of SPRING BREAK MOTHERFUCKERS SHOW US YOUR TITS! is, in fact, going the way of the dinosaur, then Spring Breakers serves as a great send-off to this gross albeit amusing American trend. It has everything you could ever want in a movie: good girls gone bad, hot naked bodies, a bumpin’ soundtrack, and, of course, James Franco giving a sexy BJ to a gun. (I swear if Franco doesn’t actually dabble in the homosexual arts, it’s a shame because hi, dat mouth, honey!) With this film, Harmony Korine has essentially baked us the most fucked up American pie imaginable and, while it might taste good at first, I’d be wary of going in for seconds.
So, okay, the plot is as thin as the bikinis these ladies are forced to wear throughout the entire movie but it goes something like this: four spunky co-eds are desperate to escape the mundane trappings of college life, so they decide to rob a bank and hightail it to Florida where their dreams of being professional party monsters can finally cum true. Selena Gomez plays Faith, the moral compass of the group (this movie is about as subtle as a jackhammer so get used to it), and the other girls (Vanessa Hudgens, Amber, oops I mean ASHLEY, Benson, and Rachel Korine) don’t really need names because their characters are tiny identical blobs of ratty hair extensions and streaky tans.
In the midst of their spring break bender, the girls get arrested for having a cocaine moment but thankfully Alien, a rapper/drug dealer played by James “I get cum in my eye just by looking at you” Franco, bails them out and invites them to join his glamorous lifestyle, which involves guns, group sex, and the occasional NBD murder. All the girls, except for Faith, rejoice at their good fortune and agree to join his harem. Unfortunately, Selena Gomez’s character is like “Ew, no!” and is sent back on a bus to her old life. Oh well! I guess she wasn’t ready to completely shed her Disney image yet. I get it. Gotta have something to look forward to in your old age, right?
Life at Alien’s compound is weird and creepy but the girls are OBSESSED with it for some reason. They have a blast riding around in fancy cars and having impromptu sing-alongs to “Everytime” by Britney Spears. It’s very cute, very precious, very Manson Family murders!
Eventually, the honeymoon ends because a rival drug dealer wants to kill Alien for taking away his clientele. I won’t spoil it anymore because I think you should actually see it for yourself. The tone of the movie is all over the place—sometimes it’s clearly satirical and other times it appears to be striving for greatness—but the mood it creates is bizarre and intoxicating. As the credits rolled, it was hard for me to form a clear opinion on what I just saw (was it brilliant or insufferable?) but then I realized something far important, which was that I was never bored. Spring Breakers is not technically a very good movie but it’s entertaining and feels different than anything I’ve seen before. In today’s increasingly stale cinema landscape, that alone feels like quite the accomplishment.