Film review: Spring Breakers (18)


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The Independent Culture

There is so much jiggling flesh on display in Harmony Korine's candy-coloured Four Go Down to Florida jamboree that it might almost be a parody of a beach-party flick. The camera ogles young women's bums and boobs like a lascivious old git in a flasher mac, enough to make you wonder if Korine actually is that old git (he wrote Kids for Larry Clark, after all).

Three of his stars – Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson – are teen-queens from the Disney factory, and it's the film's joke to send them off on a gigantic spring debauch to Florida, after they've robbed a fast-food joint for travel-motel-and-dope money. "Act like you're in a movie or something," is their motto, as if anyone would mistake their escapades for real life.

Arrested on a misdemeanour charge, the girls are bailed from prison by a metal-mouthed gangsta named Alien, played by James Franco as a sort of white-trash cousin of Snoop Dogg. "Look at my shit!" he cries as he shows off a "crib" stuffed with clothes, sunglasses and enough guns to make him the National Rifle Association's Man of the Year.

What is this film about? It's not satire, because Korine doesn't take any moral point of view. It's not really a crime flick, either, since the gunplay looks to be almost an afterthought. In the end it might just be a pervy holiday movie – "Spring break forever" is its zonked-out mantra – in which bikini-clad babes loll in the pool, smoke dope and tote automatic weapons.

Like Baywatch mating with Scarface. So... Bayface? Not to be high-minded about it, but that's much less fun than it sounds.