movies: Spring Break­ers: James Franco gets sleezy .....

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

WRITER-DI­REC­TOR Har­mony Korine has re­peat­edly stuck two fin­gers up to the cosy con­ven­tions of main­stream film­mak­ing.

While his de­ranged body of work is not al­ways co­her­ent or emo­tion­ally sat­is­fy­ing, it does at least pro­voke a strong re­sponse.

Spring Break­ers is as close as Korine has ever come to tra­di­tional sto­ry­telling, pop­u­lat­ing his cast with teen idols Se­lena Gomez and Vanessa Hud­gens, who smash their whole­some im­ages to smithereens by snort­ing drugs and point­ing guns at in­no­cent by­standers.

If there is a sub­text, it’s lost amid the mi­asma of bounc­ing breasts, de­bauch­ery and repet­i­tive dia­logue.

Lin­ger­ing shots of the fe­male cast per­form­ing hand­stands and re­veal­ing their un­der­wear adds to the thick ve­neer of voyeuris­tic sleaze in Korine’s off-kil­ter tale of crime and pun­ish­ment.

Good girl Faith (Gomez) at­tends re­li­gious in­struc­tion and turns her prayers to Heaven like the rest of her flock. She re­turns to her reck­less child­hood friends Brit (Ash­ley Ben­son), Candy (Hud­gens) and Cotty (Rachel Korine), who are look­ing for­ward to the spring break, ex­cept they don’t have the money to pay

Spring Break­ers for their dream get­away. So the girls hold up their lo­cal fast food chicken joint and use the ill-got­ten gains to fi­nance their trip to Florida.

The dream turns sour when they are ar­rested at a rowdy house party and sleazy drug dealer Alien (James Franco) bails them out.

While Brit, Candy and Cotty are con­tent to be­come Alien’s gun-tot­ing fan club, Faith is scared of their self-anointed saviour and heads back home to say 10 Hail Marys.

Mean­while, Alien wel­comes the girls into his gaudy world of ex­cess, ser­e­nad­ing them around his pi­ano with a ren­di­tion of the Brit­ney Spears bal­lad Ev­ery­time that pro­vides the film with just one mo­ment of hal­lu­cino­genic mad­ness.

Spring Break­ers be­gins as a des­e­cra­tion of the rose-tinted por­traits of ado­les­cence ped­dled by most Hol­ly­wood teen come­dies, but quickly de­scends into a point­less rep­e­ti­tion of im­ages and va­pid dia­logue.

When Faith sur­veys the he­do­nis­tic aban­don of Florida and gushes ‘‘I’m start­ing to think this is the most spir­i­tual place I’ve ever been’’, we re­alise she is al­most as crazy as Korine.

The hold-up of the chicken shop is the film’s stand-out se­quence, shot from the van­tage point of the get­away driver.

In con­trast, the cli­mac­tic shootout, con­ducted in skimpy biki­nis and pink ski masks, is a swig of in­san­ity too far.

– DA­MON SMITH

Spring Break­ers opens to­day.

James Franco as sleazy drug dealer Alien in

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