|"Spring Break... forever."|
Directed by Harmony Korine
Produced by Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Jordan Gertner, Chris Hanley and David Zander
Written by Harmony Korine
Starring Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and James Franco
Korine's new film is a brisk, tongue-in-cheek exercise in excess, featuring the previously underused talents of its young actresses and the Oscar-nominated James Franco. The set-up is simple: four college girls (played marvelously by Gomez, Hudgens, Benson and Korine) go to St. Petersburg, Florida for spring break. What follows is, of course, partying, drinking, drug use, and jail time, as the girls find themselves behind bars for their illegal activities. The girls are sprung by Alien (Franco), a rapping, drug-dealing gangster who loves to show off his wealth and live the high life. Despite some reluctance within the group, the girls move in with him, and they become even more wild in his company. But Alien's enemy wants him off the streets, which forces the girls to fight for an end to this crazy ride. (Note: In the interest of avoiding substantial spoilers, I tweaked some of the details mentioned above, but not enough to alter the narrative.)
Now, I wouldn't blame anyone if they hated this film. It's loud, gritty, and offers no break from its endless in-your-face style. While it could be deemed laughable and dismissed, I find it to be a well-executed and striking portrayal of reckless youth and the world in which American teenagers live. Korine knows what wants he wants, and he doesn't hold back. With all of the partying, violence and ludicrousness going on in this film, it easily could've fallen apart in another filmmaker's hands. Of course, the performances are also top-notch. As unbelievable as these characters may be for some, I believed in them, even in Franco's seemingly over-the-top but somehow completely dialed-in work. Add the luminous cinematography and pulsating soundtrack, and the result is a film I absolutely love. Naturally, its release date and subject matter won't lead to major awards consideration, but I'll remember its brilliance throughout the year.
Oscar Potential: None