EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 21, 2013

Forget the girls -- this is James Franco's movie

“Spring Breakers” will separate moviegoers into warring camps.

On the one side are the multiplex multitudes who may be attracted by the teen-romp title and the presence of Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez, thinking that this is going to be just some mildly salacious, breezily disposable date-night fodder.

On the other side are the cult-film connoisseurs familiar with the work of director/ writer Harmony Korine, screenwriter for Larry Clark’s controversial 1995 film “Kids” and director of such oddly titled works as “Trash Humpers” (about a group of very strange elderly people) and “Gummo” (about a group of very strange small-town folk).

While Korine defenders may be ready for his subversion, even they may not be entirely prepared for the pop-culture brilliance that is “Spring Breakers,” a manic mash-up of last year’s teensploitation, housetrashing opus “Project X,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Natural Born Killers” and a “Girls Gone Wild” video. Only “Spring Breakers” has the added bonus of a transcendent performance from James Franco, who makes up for his recent cinematic sins like “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “Your Highness.” If all that sounds horrifying, then stay far, far away.

Candy (Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine, Harmony’s wife) and Brit (Ashley Benson) are three bored college girls at some nameless university who don’t have enough money to take the spring-break vacation of their dreams. Raised in a world where delayed gratification is as foreign a concept as Euclidean geometry, they decide to hold up a fast-food joint.

Flush with cash, they head for Florida’s St. Petersburg Beach, with their more straight-laced but equally bored friend, Faith (Gomez), in tow. Once there, they make it rain in a cloudburst of alcohol, pot, cocaine and drunken, shirtless dudes pumpin’ their fists to an endless loop of dubstep and hip-hop.

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