For a movie as overtly sexual as “Spring Breakers,” Harmony Korine’s Ode to “Girls Gone Wild” that progresses to “Girl Gone Wrong,” it isn’t exactly sexy.
The women starring in it spend the entire film, pretty much, in bikinis. They simulate sex acts — jokingly — on their college campus. They make out with each other at the drop of a drunken hat (Harmony Korine’s wish fulfillment fantasy?), the character played by Korine’s nubile young wife goes topless and drunk and might be headed for a hook-up.
But their trip to Tampa Bay, for all its many shots of unidentified women whooping and tearing off their tops and playing beachside/hotel room sex-drinking games with the lads of Spring Break, has no real hooking up. The movie, by design, is something of a tease.
Skateboarder turned filmmaker Korine wrote “Kids,” and wrote and directed “Gummo,” “Julien Donkey-Boy” and “Mister Lonely,” and young, dangerous sex and its consequences is always on his mind. That lends the film an air of danger, or of a big accident waiting to happen. It’s much more commercial than anything else he’s done, but he brings many impressionistic touches to the tale — heavy use of cell-phone camera video, the repetitious, fever-dream nature of the narrative — girls, so hellbent on having fun, so enraptured by the escape of their first no-adult-supervision vacation, chanting their “Spring break, spring break, Spring Break FOREVER” mantra.
No doubt some of those showing up for it will be coming under false pretenses. It’s not a comedy, though James Franco is always funny, even as a possibly dangerous sometimes drawling (He attempts a Southern accent) gangsta and would-be rapper. And there’s shock comedy value in seeing the squeaky clean Selena Gomez, Vanessa Williams and Ashley Bell go as raunchy as any frat boy, enjoying their popsicles just a tad too much, on occasion.
The geography is, as with most movies, suspect. Our hot-to-trot quartet are shown getting to and from St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, etc., by crossing the scenic Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which is south of that corner of Florida. Kentucky to St. Pete? You don’t cross that.
Unless, of course, it’s a chartered bus that is dropping off/picking up from Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, et. al. Which it wouldn’t. Because there isn’t much of a Spring Break there.
Because all the best partying goes on amongst the seniors — college seniors AND senior citizens — of sleepy, aged old St. Pete.