Bikini clad Disney girls go off the rails in Spring Breakers, a candy-coloured sledgehammer satire from notorious provocateur Harmony Korine. The story of four sexy college girls who rob a fast food outlet to fund their Spring Break vacation, the presence of tween icons Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) and Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) belies the film’s seriously twisted approach, albeit one that’s made immediately evident once the movie begins via an extensive slow motion montage of drunken beachside revellers abandoning dignity along with their clothes. But although Spring Breakers is initially compelling – in Korine’s typically perverse and garish kind of way – its repetitious jabs at teenage hedonism and entitlement soon become grating, as the picture lags into a disappointing second half that, for all its explicit content, is actually kind of dull.
Gomez, in a good indication of the level of subtly on which Spring Breakers is operating, plays a devout Christian youth group member named “Faith”, who’s roped into the schemes of her three reckless friends, played by Hudgens, Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars) and the directors young wife Rachel (Mister Lonely). After holding up a fried chicken shack the foursome hightail it down to Miami for a chaotic week of drinking, gyrating and drug abusing. But the paradise they seek soon collapses in on itself, as the girls turn to increasingly desperate and more disturbing means to make their Spring Break dreams last forever.
After Korine shot his last film, the aptly named Trash Humpers, on worn VHS tape, Spring Breakers looks like the work of a completely different director. Glossy and gaudy, the film is a slick production lit up by neon pinks, yellows and turquoises that seem to pulsate along with the soundtrack (a skull thumping mix of Skrillex and Cliff Martinez). Even in the early sequences of the film, before things go south, scene changes and edits are accompanied by the sounds of guns being loaded, contributing to an intense, suffocating feeling that violence lurks just around the corner.