Saturday, November 16, 2013

Springbreakers (2012)

Springbreakers--James Franco as AlienJames Franco as a cornrowed gangster? Young women financing a spring break trip by committing armed robbery? Could it possibly be good?

It is not. It is, in fact, awful. Yet, I can’t discount it altogether.

We meet three party-loving collegiates, Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine). I had difficulty telling the three—all blondes—apart early on. They stand around, engage in banal discussions and encourage their wholesome raven-haired friend Faith (Selena Gomez) to let loose.

They’re pumped to head to Florida for spring break but their bank accounts don’t match their enthusiasm. The downtrodden girls hang in the echoing dorm, abandoned by their peers. The blondes have a light-bulb moment. One borrows a professor’s car, they rob a restaurant and thus, finance spring break. You’d think that they’d return the car and be done with it. No, they torch and watch it burn.

They arrive in Florida and debauch with other spring breakers. All is going well until a party they are attending gets busted. They face several days in the clink when they are unexpectedly bailed out by Alien (James Franco), a rapper and drug dealer with an arsenal of weapons. He takes them back to a house party. The blondes are delighted. He takes a liking to Faith, who already uncomfortable in her surroundings, reaches her breaking point. She takes a bus home and that’s the last we see of her. (It’s so early in the movie, you wonder if Gomez decided that her brand could go only that far.)

Franco jumps into the role of Alien and is so over the top, you forget it’s him. The girls are smitten with the bad boy. Alien gets into his past and how he got to his heights of gangster-dom. His former best friend, Big Arch, also a gangster, warns Alien to stay out of his turf.

The movie rambles, meanders and takes a long time to get no where. We don’t find out what drives any of the characters besides basic hedonistic urges. It escalates to an unbelievable anti-climactic conclusion. Candy and Brit stay with Alien, cavorting and robbing. The lame dialogue, the annoying Hudgens and Benson and the empty plot plod along. It does possess elements perfect for cult-classic standing. It has stylized bits and cinematography that work really well. Pink ski masks, black light effects, slow-motion action and James Franco, especially James Franco, keep Springbreakers from being a zero. Alien deserves his own movie.

I can’t recommend Springbreakers to anyone who wants a plotted story with three-dimensional characters. It does have its moments, and under some conditions, like a midnight movie, bring it on.

Director: Harmony Korine

Country: US

Genre: Drama

Run time: 94 minutes

Scale: 3

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