Spring Breakers (R)

Action/Adventure 94 March 22, 2013
By Scott Foundas
"All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun" goes Jean-Luc Godard's quip. Add to that a few more girls and their bikinis and you have the rough formula for Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, which looks like the most expensive Girls Gone Wild video ever made and feels like a grindhouse version of a 1950s beach-party movie: Where the Boys Are Pimps and Gangstas. It's impossible to say where exploitation ends and deconstructionism begins. Four undergraduate friends-- Brit, Faith, Candy and Cotty-- are jonesing for a primal escape. In a casting coup, the girls are played by Disney and Teen People princesses—Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez, along with Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson—-- who set their good-girl images ablaze. These Cinderellas dream of the Florida ball (or, given the lewd drawings we see two of them making in their history-class notebooks, balls), but a cash-flow problem threatens to leave them stranded on campus. So, they opt to hold up a local diner with squirt guns, ski masks and a Godardian resolve to transform life into cinema: "Just fuckin' pretend it's a video game. Act like you're in a movie or something." What follows is nothing if not bravura moviemaking-- a robbery filmed in one continuous take from the p.o.v. of the getaway car as it circles the outside of the building. As a corn-rowed, elaborately tattooed hip-hop star with a sideline in drug and arms dealing, James Franco a consistent astonishment. Franco and Korine are so suited to collaboration, it's amazing it didn't happen sooner—two prankster artists whose straight-faced self-parody can skirt the sublime.
Harmony Korine Selena Gomez, James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Heather Morris, Rachel Korine, Ashley Lendzion, Gucci Mane Harmony Korine Chris Hanley, Jordan Gertner, David Zander, Charles-Marie Anthonioz A24 Films

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