05/04/2013

Spring Breakers

Let's just get this out of the way immediately: I don't particularly care for the work of Harmony Korine. Gummo and Trash Humpers bored and irritated me equally so it's fair to say that I find his cult auteur status somewhat confusing. But despite all that, I was surprisingly pretty amped for Spring Breakers. It's been seemingly floating around in my consciousness for well over a year and when the fluorescent tropical-style idents began filling the screen with a knowing nod to tacky, garish 'Club Tropicana'-esque clubs on beach resorts, it seemed like this was going to be the first Korine movie that actually made sense and would be a bit fun.

Spring Breakers is Korine's ode to the American tradition of spring break in which hordes of awful young people head to beach resorts intent on causing as much damage as possible. And not throwing-up-on-a-bus-type drunken anarchy either, proper vile dear-God-I-hope-my-parents-never-find-out shenanigans. I was sceptical about how much trouble people get up to on these holidays until my friend told me about the time he spent spring break in Cancun and saw a girl volunteer to let a man piss on her for a half-empty bottle of tequila. Hi Andrew.

Anyway, back to the film. Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine, Selena Gomez and Ashley Benson play four college students bored out their minds and hungry for a bit of action in Florida and they're happy to rob a diner to fund it. Korine uses various techniques to elicit a woozy and almost dreamlike state as the girls mess about in corridors and sing Britney Spears songs badly but soon the visual style and purposely (I hope) mundane voiceover becomes repetitive and hopelessly boring. Perhaps it's a metaphor for the lives the girls are living but even so, I could feel my interest depleting rapidly and flashbacks to my terrible times watching Gummo and Trash Humpers began to fill my brain.
But just as that was beginning to happen, James Franco's hideous but amazingly entertaining Alien ("I am not of this world.") popped up and saved not only my sanity, but the film. Sporting extra-tight cainrows, iced grills and a maniacal grin that implies he isn't totally above rape, Alien is easily the best thing Franco has done in ages. Not only is everything he says instantly quotable, it's the first time in a long time I've seen Franco look like he's having a really good time. Someone needs to greenlight a father-son road movie starring Alien and Drexl right now.

Despite a stuttering start Spring Breakers never outstays its welcome or becomes a preachy look at America's lost youth, so congratulations to Korine for making something entertaining for once. Oh, and there's tits. Lots and lots of tits.