CRIME DRAMA; 1hr 34min
STARRING: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine
Spring-loaded: Gomez and Franco
Grungy rush Spring Breakers opens with a (way) OTT flesh-trash montage. Bear in mind, the writer-director is Harmony Korine, who first made his mark with the screenplay of 1995’s contentious Kids. Korine follows through with grittily salacious snapshots of college life, culminating with reckless cuties Candy, Brit and Cotty (Hudgens, Benson and Korine’s wife, Rachel) burgling a restaurant to fund their “magical” Florida spring break. Good-girl Faith (Gomez) isn’t along for the snatch-grab ride, which doesn’t save her.
Caught in ogling close-ups, the hearty party goes on for an age. Unless you’re, like, 18, this stuff gets old fast and it’s a relief when the girls — still in their bikinis — are hauled into court and thrown in the slammer. They’re bailed out by drug and arms dealer Alien (Franco, dolled up with cornrows and metal-plated teeth that do nothing for anyone). “Wanna have some fun?” he leers in a cornpone twang. Faith, her moral compass spinning, high-tails it home. The others stay put for a crash course in corruption — not that they need one. Don’t be misled by the ditsy movie poster: Korine’s ironic take on depravity is arty and dark.