“Y’all are my motherfuckin’ soulmates.” James Franco (middle) pimps out Ashley Benson (left) and Vanessa Hudgens in Spring Breakers.
SPRING BREAKERS written and directed by Harmony Korine, with Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Heather Morris, Vanessa Hudgens, James Franco, Selena Gomez and Gucci Mane. A VVS Films release. 92 minutes. Opens Friday (March 29). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
Spring Breakers delights in the dumbness of modern American youth culture. Four listless college students (Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and Rachel Korine) steal a professor's car, knock over a fast food joint and peel south to St. Petersburg, Florida, for some boozy fun in the sun. Director Harmony Korine revels in the sweaty, sun-dappled T&A and wonky dubstep beats of America's annual outlaw tradition.
After landing in the drunk tank, the coeds are bailed out by Alien (James Franco, gobbling scenery with his silver-plated grill), an amateur rapper and real-deal thug who indoctrinates them into his audaciously stupid gangster subculture. The girls graduate from imitating unchecked sex and violence to actively engaging in it.
Korine seems to be emphasizing the primary racial divide in American culture by cleaving his movie in two, the first half focusing on St. Pete's permissible, mostly white party economy, the second on the largely black criminal underworld that sustains it. After all, all those coked-up college kids in the MTV specials and Girls Gone Wild videos need to get their drugs somewhere.