'Spring Breakers' vapid, empty

Liz Braun, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:13 PM ET

You get Mouseketeers with guns in Spring Breakers, a new film from Harmony Korine that's all about the dark side of disaffected youth. The film is just as colourful and empty as its characters and cleverly replicates the whirlwind of boredom and stupidity they inhabit. There's a message here; after it's handed over in the first 10 minutes, there's nothing left to do but look at your watch.

Four lifelong friends at some dull college are excited about spring break and all the boys, bongs and beer it promises. Selena Gomez is Faith, the aptly-named good girl of the group; Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine co-star as an interchangeable trio of girls-gone-wild wannabes. They talk filthy and do lots of drugs, and meanwhile there's a problem with their upcoming beach escape: no money.

Yeah, about that. First we see Benson and Hudgens passing notes that read, "I want penis" and making oral sex jokes in class, then we see everyone doing lines at a party, and then we see everyone complaining that they don't have enough money to go on spring break.

Problem: If that cocaine was 'free' then it's unlikely there's any penis deprivation in the group. Alternatively, if they paid for the coke then they can't complain about the price of a cheesy bus ticket to Florida. It's a small detail, but here's where you start worrying that this Important, Edgy film about the Ugly Reality Of The Lost Generation might actually just be Hot Teenage Chicks As Written By A 40 Year Old Guy.

Getting the money to go on spring break turns out to be simple matter of stealing a prof's old car and robbing a restaurant. The robber girls cover their tracks by setting fire to the car. This all goes unnoticed by the townsfolk and the local police, which is way interesting.

So the girls go to a beach community for the hoped-for spring break debauchery but eventually get arrested when a big party goes wrong. They go to jail. They get bailed out by Alien, a local thug who thinks the girls will come in handy with his fledgling criminal activity. Alien (James Franco) has cornrows in his hair and a grill in his mouth for an overall look that suggests time stood still at some terrible all-inclusive beach resort circa 1998. The less said about this the better.

The naughty group embarks on a life of crime. Somewhere in here, central characters start to leave the story, a disconcerting turn of events that's one of the more interesting elements of the movie. Otherwise, it's rival drug lords, people fellating gun barrels, threesomes with Alien and music from Skrillex.

The movie has a couple of visually interesting sequences outlining the sad, frenetic, barf-flecked reality of spring break. Otherwise, Spring Breakers is boring. Gimmicky casting and music video editing can't really dress up what amounts to a middle-aged man's unfortunate fantasy.

 


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