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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Spring Breakers relies on sex to bring in an audience


The cast of "Spring Breakers" poses in character during a scene from the movie. (MCT CAMPUS)
The cast of “Spring Breakers” poses in character during a scene from the movie. (MCT CAMPUS)

Let’s say you’re in a movie theatre and you see a posse of white kids walk in the door. They wear DGK, or Dirty Ghetto Kid, t-shirts, skinny jeans or maybe basketball shorts and Nike shoes that LeBron James may have endorsed. If those guys and the girls they walk in with, wearing something smaller but similar, look like they just woke up and seem a little dazed, tell them to see “Spring Breakers.”

That generation of suburban white kids from Middle America who grew up watching the party-until-you’re-stupid lifestyles of Lil Wayne and “Jersey Shore,” listening to throbbing, bass-heavy dance music known as dubstep and rappers who are frequently more stoned than talented, will think “Spring Breakers” is their generation’s “Citizen Kane.” They probably wouldn’t know what “Citizen Kane” is, but you get the idea.

Harmony Korine, the film’s writer/director, is behind films like “Kids” and “Gummo” that deal with young kids in certain strange parts of America that are alienated in some way. Korine focuses on four college girls, Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine, the director’s wife). Besides Faith, who is in a prayer group, the girls are bored to death with going to class and watching life roll by them. Spring break is their escape, but they have no money. Candy, Brit and Cotty decide to rob a diner and use the money to jet down to Florida and enjoy spring break. For the girls, it’s a booze filled, drug infested, sunbathing paradise. Of course, they get arrested for having too much fun, but are bailed out by local rapper/drug dealer Alien (Oscar nominee James Franco). Alien lives his “American dream,” with multiple firearms, drugs galore and “Scarface” on repeat. The girls go deeper and deeper into the grisly nightlife of Florida’s spring break, testing how much they can deal with.

The selling point for this movie is obviously seeing two former Disney stars (Hudgens and Gomez) scantily clad and trying to become adult stars, so there is little acting on their part. Hudgens and Benson show their dark side in a particularly disturbing scene with Franco, but the buck stops there. Franco is almost unbearable as Alien, sporting cornrows, gold teeth and an accent that’s neither ghetto or southern. Nothing about his performance is something to take seriously or even laugh at. The only interesting character in the movie is Archie, a rival drug dealer played by rapper Gucci Mane. No dialogue stands out in the film, despite two covers of Britney Spears songs. The film’s color scheme pops out pretty well, with the neon nights and bright days of the Florida beach scene. The views of parties are nicely accompanied by music from Skrillex and Cliff Martinez, who set the mood for everything to the wild parties to the moody breaks with the girls.

The main problem with “Spring Breakers” is that it is all show and nothing behind the curtain. Sure, it seems like a look at what the current American youth see as happiness and freedom, but there seems to be no point to the viewing. Who’s to say that people don’t already know what goes on with college kids on break?

People have seen MTV’s televised spring break shows and parts of “Jersey Shore.”

Nothing in this movie should be too surprising, and it’s clear what parts of the movie are pointless (the drug ring sub-plot), so what is the point? Korine just gives us one long music video that borders on pornography with nothing else to show for it. The movie takes an easy way out when it ends and never entertains but perplexes due to its vulgarity. “Spring Breakers” is interesting to look at, but nothing to remember.

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