'Spring Breakers': Not for your mom, grandma


This movie is not appropriate for children and I'm not entirely sure it's appropriate for adults either. "Spring Breakers" may star two Disney beauty queens, a "Pretty Little Liar," and "Oz: The Great and Powerful," but this film is far removed from anything resembling a Disney or ABC Family property. "Spring Breakers" is a brash, bombastic barrage of sexuality, drugs and alcohol, with some added criminal behavior to spice up this story even further.

"Spring Breakers" tells the story of four friends who want to get away from the boring mundane lives they live. This might not connect with some audiences and you might ask yourself what are these spoiled little girls complaining about all the time. You might very well hate these whiny characters most of the film, if not all of it, but watching their transformation from spoiled little girls to hardened criminals is amusing.

The girls combine all their money for one big escape, but come up short. So their minds go to the next logical step, robbing a chicken restaurant. I'm sure we've all been there. These girls aren't very bright, though, because instead of spending their money on drugs and alcohol they could have saved it for this big trip. Logic is not essential to be a character in "Spring Breakers."

These four "brilliant" minds accomplish the dirty deed and find themselves in a seedy, sleazy Spring Break wonderland. The parties are always exploding and the booze is flowing like waterfalls. To some this is paradise, but when reality sets in some of the characters realize this is not the eden they expected. After running into some trouble with the law, they meet a rapper/gangster played by the excellent James Franco.

If there is one thing I took away from this movie, it's that Franco can act when he's not in a Sam Raimi movie. He is surprisingly brilliant as Alien, creepy, yet interesting, and his motivations are kept simple so Franco can have a lot of fun in the role. His best scene has to be when he is bragging about being a gangster and all of his material possessions. It looks as if Harmony Korine, the director, set up a room with all kinds of cliche gangster paraphernalia and let Franco loose with humorous results.

The women playing girls in this film are also impressive. Selena Gomez has some real talent that is hidden by her roles in teen flicks and "Wizards of Waverly Place." There is a moment in the film where she appears to be crying real tears and her character is probably the most complex aside from Franco's.

The story is simple and the pacing is weird at times, but it's something to behold in terms of what Kormine does with the camera as well as lighting. Kormine successfully creates the fantastical nature of what spring break is to many college students and coats it with spice during the well-shot criminal scenes. There is only one scene that I recall that has natural lighting and it's a shot of a bus; everything else is stylistic and purposefully made dark or bright.

I wouldn't recommend this to my grandma or my mother, but if you're curious about Franco and the female performances then stomach the gratuitous sexuality and give "Spring Breakers" a shot. It's far from a great film, but it is interesting to watch and has some really solid performances from unexpected actors.


Patrick White

Movie fan Patrick White doesn't spare anyone's feelings when deciding if the latest Hollywood offering is trash or treasure. Catch his reviews on the latest theater and DVD releases in Saturday's paper.

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