At first glance this film seems like a great idea. You have several college aged “good girl” actresses portraying a group of reckless spring breakers experiencing sex, drugs, and rock & roll around the clock. Sign me up, I’m there! That is until you press play…
The movie begins with scenes juxtaposing the lives of the church girl Faith (Selena Gomez) and her slightly more ‘liberal’ friend Candy (Vanessa Hudgens). There are two more ladies in the group but they barely get enough lines to call them co-stars (Brit played by Ashley Benson & Cotty played by Rachel Korine). Their lack of time to shine is an actual shame considering the electric way Korine captures the attention of the audience every time she is put on the screen. About midway through the film, there is a long drawn out “music video” full of orgies, cocaine and beach parties. Nonetheless, Korine’s character Cotty has a commanding presence without uttering one syllable for the entirety of the party scene. Ashley Benson has redeeming qualities also when she steps on the stage. Her bright demeanor makes her stand out from the rest of the bunch. Whether that was part of her character or a character flaw, it breaths fresh air into the scenes to see an “All American” blonde girl smile as she is snorting lines of coke and wielding a firearm…or a gat! I’ve always wanted to use that word in a blog and mission accomplished.
“Just pretend it’s a video game. Like you’re in a fucking movie.”
Back to the movie, James Franco does an excellent job playing the ‘Riff Raff’ rip off named Alien (pronounced A-Leen). He is a rapper, a drug dealer, a gun collector, an arsonist, a piano player, and I also suspect a city councilman. The ridiculous, over the top script makes Franco’s character a tad bit annoying hearing him repeat every line 3 or 4 times in a row. There comes a point about 20 minutes after his reveal where I said ‘Enough is enough, if he repeats another line I’m stopping this movie’. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Alien transitions from a caricature to an actually troubled human being, that you genuinely become interested in what his motives are and what hair brain scheme he is cooking up next. Alien’s antagonist is none other than Gucci Mane aka Big Arch. He performs well here and if not for the tattoos, he could have a future in Hollywood. There is something engaging about his sincere delivery of Archie’s lines.
The plot is muddied and the characters are one dimensional representation of what people over 40 think about millennials. The story aims to be an essay on what happens when ‘wannabe hip hoppers’ from suburbia meet the real gritty deep & dirty dealers of the inner city. Instead it ends up being a 94 minutes adult cartoon starring some very attractive people.
You have been warned; skip out on this Spring Break destination!