|Starring||James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine|
|Release||22 MAR (US) 5 APR (UK) Certificate 18|
From the off, there's an almost unbearable sense that things could turn ugly for the girls at any given moment. They're not selfish, but they think of nobody other than themselves, and it's obvious that they can't carry on that way without coming a cropper. The ugliness arrives in the shape of Alien (James Franco with a full set of silver teeth and white-boy cornrows), but when things get really nasty it's not a single, shocking event but a natural progression in the girls' story. Their path is laid out for them, and it's their choice whether to follow it or not. If this is Korine's comment on modern American youth, it's pretty damning: have as much fun as you like, but a youth spent in the shallow pursuit of celebrity, money and the American dream will only lead to a nightmare. Korine even suggests, in one of the film's least subtle metaphors, that faith might be the only thing keeping you from harm. Lose faith, and you lose yourself.
Allegory aside, Spring Breakers is a guilty pleasure, mainly thanks to Franco's bonkers performance as a Tony Montana wannabe. "Look at all my shit!" is the new "Say hello to my leel fren!", and Franco utterly convinces as an appalling human being who's a Venus Fly Trap to impressionable young girls. Alien is everything wrong with society, but he's sexy and he knows it. The girls are less successful, bland ciphers of aimless youth (Hudgens and Benson are virtually indistinguishable from each other), but that feels like a deliberate move on Korine's part.
Constructed in a dreamlike fashion, with dialogue and shots from future scenes spliced into present ones, Spring Breakers is likely to divide audiences with its woozy tone. You're free to read it as a non-stop party or as something much deeper, but either way there isn't an awful lot here to entertain beyond Franco's crackers turn. One thing's for sure though: a British version, called Easter Holidayers, about students eating overpriced chocolate and watching Bond films on the telly, would probably not be quite such an appealing prospect.