Booze, boobs and ... Selena Gomez? There is no question that director Harmony Korine is mocking the hedonistic idea of an American Spring Break with his latest film, "Spring Breakers."
The reverberating thrums of Skrillex open the film and set the tone as a slew of drunk, naked girls on the beach suggestively suck on popsicles, with guys cheering them on between the alternation of guzzling alcohol and pouring it all over the girls' bare chests. One could practically hear Korine's mockery of Spring Break as the camera pans in to a close-up of one girl's freely bouncing breasts.
The film lacks any moral underpinning as it follows four friends, Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine), who are desperate to escape reality and travel to Florida. There's only one problem: they're broke. Candy, Brit and Cotty steal a professor's El Camino, rob a local fast-food restaurant with squirt guns then burn the car.
"Just pretend it's a ... video game," Candy encourages them. This is the first big role Hudgens has had since the sensation of "High School Musical." It is evident she's trying to break out of the child star role, but her performance was awkward in its delivery.
Faith, who seems to be the only character with morals in the film, highly disapproves of the means in which the money was received but quickly forgives her friends. The foursome begins the journey from the safe haven of their Christian university to the deep, sinful waters of what seems to be a fun Florida Spring Break.
At first, everything seems to be going great. The girls take part in the hype of a typical college Spring Break: funneling beer, dancing wildly on balconies, kissing boys and attending the beach concert of wannabe rapper, Alien (James Franco). But after a hotel party gone bad, the girls end up in jail.
Upon their court hearing, Alien is in attendance and decides to bail the four girls out and take them under his wing. Although the film tries to highlight the girls, Franco steals the thunder and proves his seamless talent by immersing himself in his character Alien. Tattooed, gold-grilled and cornrowed, he is a drug-dealing hustler with a southern drawl that is borderline incomprehensible. Alien seems to be a joke but proves to be a true gangster once he crosses paths with his ex-best friend, Archie (Gucci Mane).
Upon discovering what type of person Alien truly is and experiencing his lifestyle and surroundings, Faith is uncomfortable, pushed past her brink and decides to head home early. Out goes the only character who would possibly have given the film any type of positive outcome.
Three remain: Cotty, Candy and Brit. The girls get caught up in Alien's mess and continue the madness, crashing everyone's parties in pink ski masks with real guns, stealing money, threatening lives, and doing and dealing drugs as they go. One thing is for sure: "Everytime" by Britney Spears will never be heard the same way again.
Archie, now Alien's enemy, threatens him to stop dealing drugs in his part of the neighborhood, as it is his business Alien is stealing. Alien fails to comply and puts the girls' lives at risk, resulting in Cotty getting shot in the arm and departing "paradise," leaving just Candy and Brit.
With only the two girls left, Alien sets out to kill Archie in revenge. Once the three get to Archie's mansion, locked and loaded, Alien is instantly shot and killed, but Candy and Brit continue killing without hesitation. What started as a ploy with squirt guns turned into something that leaves real blood on the hands of two girls who initially wanted nothing more than to escape reality during Spring Break.
It's hard to tell what Korine was trying to do exactly, but what the film leaves viewers with is a deeply unsettling and highly unforgettable experience about how the desire for excess easily leads to destruction at the expense of one's soul. Korine is notorious for exposing and exploiting the shortfalls of society, but "Spring Breakers" is by far the one film that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on the viewer's psyche.