That's how we're introduced to Spring Breakers. Our eyes pace around the thighs and bare breasts of a gaggle of anonymous, vacationing coeds before a shirtless bro in a flat-brimmed hat and baggy mesh shorts stares directly into our souls, grabs his crotch, and thrusts toward the camera in slow motion, as if warning us what we were about to endure.
Spring Breakers is the latest tale from shock-jock director Harmony Korine. Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical), Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars), Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place), and Korine's wife, Rachel, star as four college coeds hellbent on making it to Florida for, you guessed it, spring break.
When the girls' fundraising efforts come up short, they strap on their stuffed animal backpacks and rob a diner because, YOLO. Inevitably, things get a little too cray and cornrowed criminal "Alien" (James Franco) is kind enough to help get the girls back on their feet and then some.
Since Korine is hella creative, Gomez plays "Faith," a girl who is torn between ripping bong hits with her friends and observing her faith in God. See what he did there?
As "Candy," Hudgens shows glimpses of promise as the bad girl-gone-badder. Some girls come home from Panama City with a crazy story and a regrettable butterfly tattoo. She makes an armed-to-the-grill criminal named Alien simulate oral sex on the barrel of a pistol and then opened fire on a bunch of gangsters with a semi-automatic weapon.
Franco actually shows up at parts—long enough to slay with his musical number and talk about his nunchucks—but not enough to rescue the film, which moves like a Skrillex song; repetitive, but meandering until the bass drops with a spurt or two of action to advance the plot.
At times, the film feels like an overhanded commentary on the cultural vapidity of the youngs. Neon tank tops. Twerking. Crappy rap songs. Bong hits from the crotch of a baby doll-turned smoking apparatus. Grillz. (Yell if you have "Trashy Teen Customs" bingo). Sometimes it just feels like Mouseketeer porn. Though it comes off as more of a motive than a result, Mousketeer porn might also qualify as an overhanded commentary on the cultural vapidity of the youngs.
If Spring Breakers was a photograph, it would be a shirtless, flexing selfie that Harmony Korine took in his bathroom and posted to Instagram. Even if he meant well, he's trying too hard. On a scale of Battlefield Earth to Citizen Kane it's a 4.5.