Riding a tidal wave of controversy following its US release, Spring Breakers sees some former Disney Channel and High School Musical princesses Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens drop their goodie-two-shoes image in the name of sex, drugs and violence. But while some may be shocked by what they see in Spring Breakers, this is an example of a lot of noise being made to camouflage the fact that there's actually not much else going on here.
Four best friends - played with a sliding scale of talent by Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Gomez and Rachel Korine - want to go to Florida for Spring Break, but don't have the funds. So they rob a local restaurant, and then head south with their illegal takings. They party a little too hard down there, getting arrested for drug possession, but get bailed out of jail by local rapper/drug dealer Alien (a truly annoying James Franco complete with dreadlocks, grills and an overuse of the word "Y'all"), who sees the girls as kindred spirits. From this point on, debauched chaos ensues.
With its neon-lit day-glo aestethic, dub-step soundtrack and gun-shot edits, Spring Breakers certainly knows how to get your attention. It just doesn't know what to do with it once it's got it. With all bad behaviour in the movie excused by the mantra of "SPRING BREAK FOREVER!", it plays like one half hip-hop music video, one half violent hangover, and is aimed squarely at the type of people who value common sense less than a sense of FOMO (look it up).
Spring Breakers' tale of the hollows of excess is mirrored by its own excesses actually being quite hollow. There are a lot of guns and nudity, but not all that much violence and sex. Everyone is drinking alcohol and taking drugs, but nobody seems to be all that drunk or high. If the movie is trying to tell us something, it's not clear what that is. Is it sexist? Is it feminist? Does it matter? Should we care?
This movie definitely deserves to be seen, but there just doesn't seem to be a reason for it to exist in the first place.