Former Disney stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens show a whole new side of their personalities in the wild and raunchy new film "Spring Breakers". Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman filed the following report.
The indie maverick Harmony Korine has spent more than 15 years making tiny avant-garde-ish grunge movies that get talked about a lot more than they get seen. Personally, I’ve never had much patience for such rambling Korine conversation pieces as "Gummo" or "Trash Humpers". But now, something has shifted. The former bad boy, who just turned 40, has made his first mainstream movie. It’s called "Spring Breakers", and it’s not only infinitely more watchable than the earlier Harmony Korine films, I’d say it’s his first truly good movie.
"Spring Breakers" is an outlaw fantasia about four college women who go on a psychotic Spring Break bender. It’s Korine’s latest cherry bomb tossed at respectability, only this time, he’s not just dancing on the edge. He’s dissecting it, making an insightful, inside look at what our culture of youth excess has come to.
The film stars two former squeaky-clean graduates of the Disney empire, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, as part of a quartet of baby-doll BFFs who commit an armed robbery to get the cash they need to go down to Florida. Korine’s gambit is to push the party decadence so far that it becomes nearly apocalyptic; think ancient Rome with beer bongs and machine guns.
The four girls wind up in jail, but they’re sprung by James Franco as a drawling gangster drug dealer in gold teeth and cornrows. From that moment, a suspenseful question hovers: What will he make them do to pay for their freedom? Franco’s performance sounds like a stunt, but in this role, he’s genuinely sinister and utterly mesmerizing.
The whole idea of Spring Breakers is that today’s addictive youth culture has become a kind of fake, law-breaking underworld. In other words, do whatever you want, whenever you want, and damn the consequences.
The power of the film is that it pulls the rug out from under this privileged fantasy of middle-class hedonism. "Spring Breakers" isn't a perfect movie, but it reinvents Harmony Korine, establishing him, for the first time, as the truly dangerous filmmaker he’s always wanted to be.