Let me begin this review by indicating how much I loathe Harmony Korine. I have little to no respect for him as a filmmaker. I believe most of his work is mindless dribble made with the sole intent of shocking for the sake of shocking. You may ask why I even watched SPRING BREAKERS then if I hate Korine so much. Well, as an amateur film critic it’s imperative that I watch something before I talk shit about it. After all, I did watch ZERO DARK THIRTY. Also, as a connoisseur of graphically disturbing cinema, it’s my duty to see anything with a controversial buzz.
I won’t say SPRING BREAKERS is the worst film I’ve ever seen; I save that title for TRASH HUMPERS (also by Korine). SPRING BREAKERS is far from the best I have seen too. I admit it was mildly entertaining. Had it not been for James Franco, this film would have been an entire wash. Franco’s character of Alien is an over the top portrayal of “white gangstas” a la’ a Wayan’s Brothers film. Nothing about his character was believable or compelling which makes it ludicrously funny.
Clearly the female leads were all cast based on their seedy pasts as Disney dolls. These young actresses are desperately trying to shed their good girl images with the exception of Rachel Korine who just so happens to be married to Harmony. Rachel Korine cannot act her way out of a box, but she was thrown into this film as a message to the people who probably picked on Harmony as a kid. She’s his way of saying, “look at me now bitches, I married a hot chick” to all his naysayers.
Honestly, I expected this film to be way more fucked up. There’s not much in this film that I myself didn’t do (except armed robbery) on any given school night during my high school years. The lack of shock makes me think Korine is slipping in his old age. I thought for sure someone was going to get raped. Not that I anticipated it or condone rape, but SPRING BREAKERS has a sense of predictability to it. The reality is that any or all of these girls may have likely been raped had this been based on a real story. This is a sad unfortunate fact we deal with on a daily basis; just look at Steubenville.
To tell you the truth, I actually did enjoy KIDS (written by Korine) when it came out. I related to it in a way that terrified me upon initial viewing. As an adolescent indulging in the same vices as the kids in KIDS, the film hit a little too close to home. However, I think the things that made that film work so well were a complete fluke. A decent script coupled with Larry Clark and an incredible cast is what made KIDS work. The difference between the cast of KIDS and the cast of SPRING BREAKERS is experience. SPRING BREAKERS is full of trained one trick ponies who have been playing one dimensional characters their whole lives. KIDS was a cast of unknown teens who were not afraid to lose themselves in their roles. You’ll notice Korine has had less than stellar performances since that first film.
Overall, this film is amusing, but not enough to make it a great film. I did not expect the dialogue to be Shakespeare, but I did expect more substance than what a ten year old could write. I’d expect this film from a first time director, not a seasoned self proclaimed genius. On the other hand, this may just be a midlife crisis for Korine. SPRING BREAKERS is basically a really long & expensive dub step music video. It’s KIDS for the Facebook generation. Maybe Korine should start making grown up films instead of reaching into the hat and pulling out the same trick he did twenty years ago. Also, dub step is probably the worst genre of music of all time.