A Refreshingly Odd Cult Hit
While most filmmakers are re-vamping comic book movies and signing deals to make Grown Up’s 3, it’s surprising that Disney darlings Salina Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens (I felt a great deal of pride when I had to IMDB her name) would do the racy and bizarre Spring Breakers. The film follows four college students, aptly named Faith (Gomez), Candy (Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) as they head to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break where the only song and dance number is a drunken “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” As the opening sequence of choreographed boobs and beer bongs implies, this is not your Club MTV / Pauli Shore Spring Break. Most of the sequences in the film are dreamlike as they try to showcase a type of post Joe Francis apocalypse, where threesomes have been traded in for an orgasmic form of Russian roulette.
Initially the girls don’t have enough money to go on the trip so they steal a car and rob a fried chicken establishment. To alleviate their pre-crime fears the girls recite, “It’s just like in the movies, it just like a video game.” They end up warping past several levels to Aliens (James Franco) Castle, where the only way out is through firepower. James Franco, who could have easily gone the Ryan Philippe or Ryan Reynolds route with predictable roles, chose Soap Oprah and Academic gigs instead. Franco is not your typical leading man, an Alien among men, whose character in the film was brought up by tough black thugs who have recently shunned him and now he must gain power for himself.
Spring Breakers is not a great film and although it establishes an exciting premise, doesn’t really give us anything besides jumbled editing and dialogue on repeat. The film does however remind us of the importance of creativity. We are presented with conventional characters (soon to be college drop-outs) in a conventional setting (Fort Lauderdale), but as the plot unfolds dynamics get played out that we are not visually or narratively prepared for. Nobody wants to be in the business of tearing at a canvas, as making a film is one of the most daunting tasks an artist can take on, we want to promote originality and creative integrity—Spring Breakers has both of these elements.