5/10
James Franco saves this film from being bad
29 March 2013
I think this film was given the greenlight because it was going to be called "Spring Breakers" and it would have Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, and James Franco in it and ultimately they knew they could bring in some of their fan base to this very odd art film because they wouldn't know Harmony Korine. On that business level I respect the people who funded this, knowing it would at least bring back its 5 million dollar budget, and who knows maybe it would turn a profit which I think it has to a degree.

I have always wanted to like Korine's films, and Harmony himself is usually pretty funny, just youtube any interview he's ever done but his films never manage in my opinion to be anything other than just different. Now in this cinematic landscape some people are so hungry for different that they immediately equate different to genius but thats not the case. So yes Korine's films aren't normal but you also can never get attached to any of the characters or interested in the plot because there rarely ever is one.

Here's what I thought Spring Breakers was about - four girls go partying, get arrested, Franco's character bails them out and in return requests that they help him do some robberies / illegal drug stuff. In actuality it was that formula except when Franco bails them out he tells them they can leave or stay with him, or do whatever they want. But thats the whole premise, not much plot beyond that, oh yea and three of the four girls violently rob a place to get money for spring break. Although with a film like this plot is secondary if that.

Whats most important for Korine is interesting images, which this film is actually oddly short on, everything becomes pretty redundant, neon lights, cameras that are far too close up for you to get any concept of space which maybe was their intention but still. Regular camera shots mixed with low grade cameras.

This would have been a much better film if Korine had just reined it in a little bit and allowed for the audience to know anything about the female characters. Until Franco's character shows up I had a few thoughts that maybe this was going to actually be a horrible movie, once Franco is there you have at least one rounded strange character you can understand. And Franco has a great time hamming it up, but it isn't just that he actually delivers a really great performance. For his role as Al / Alien almost any actor could have taken it on and delivered enough to allow the film to be but Franco adds a lot more to this role than anyone else would have which I found to be impressive.

Now as for the nudity, yes this film has lots of it, but of the four girls only Rachel Korine has some nude scenes. Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson have a few implied nude scenes, and Selena Gomez has none. But this film still has lots of nudity because of strip clubs, and various other scenes with random women. Most of the nudity is from women who have no lines in the film and are just there. Having said all of that I don't think I've ever seen a film where the nudity was less played up, like made to sort of entice or seduce the audience, all of the nudity here is just sort of very very un-erotic, like its just sort of there, which maybe was the point, although I think a lot of it had to do with the odd camera angles involved, neon lights etc. Not that I really care, its just people will be curious about this aspect of the film.

Ultimately I think Korine wanted to have an excuse to party at spring break, which I think he has owned up to in interviews and so this movie is a product of that. I gave it 5/10 its not really bad or good, nor would I recommend it to people or persuade them not to see it, its just something to check out at some point. I paid 10 bucks to see it in the theater, probably should have waited for video or to see it at a discount theater but oh well.
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