Put plainly, Harmony Korine’s latest flick is an electro-trash nightmare in movie form. It features an ear-rattling soundtrack by Skrillex and Gucci Mane, shot after shot of mindless dancing in slow-motion, neon bikinis, and a group of desperate college girls who embrace the hell out of all of it for ninety nauseating minutes. And you better believe it’s pretty damn sexist.
The film follows Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine), and Brit (Ashley Benson), four friends who are miserably stuck on campus during their university’s spring break. They dream of going to Florida for a sexy, strung-out vacation in order to “find themselves." To acquire the funds to do so, they storm a local diner in ski masks and hot pants, all while wielding squirt guns and hammers. With the money, they take a party bus to Florida. Cue the petri dish rave montages.
What’s wrong with this? Nothing too obvious, at least from the outset, but as soon as the film begins, we’re hit with a hyper-sexualized image of spring break. The first few minutes of the film consist of hundreds of scantily clad youngsters flailing around on a beach whilst brutally massacring their own brain cells with disgusting amounts of alcohol. Not all of the drinks are being voluntarily consumed, however, as much of them are either being forced down girls’ throats with beer funnels or splashed across their breasts (of which Korine shows quite a few) by men. Not exactly subtle.
Back at college, the girls are prancing around in their bras and underwear, miming explicit acts during history lectures, and sensuously rubbing themselves while singing Nelly’s “Hot in Here,” presumably out of sheer boredom. These sequences have a common message: these hot girls need some action before their libidos take human form and wreak dirty, sleazy havoc on the public. They eventually do, but we’ll get to that later.
Once the money for vacation is acquired, Candy rubs dollar bills all over her body and somewhere off camera, I would assume that she and her cohorts vowed to stop wearing clothing from that moment on. Throughout the rest of the movie, the girls wear their bikinis, even when they are taken to court for sniffing cocaine off of each other’s nearly-naked bodies. Keep in mind, it is not legal to be that exposed in a formal court of law, so this was clearly Korine’s way of telling viewers “Don’t worry, you can still check out their bangin’ bods ‘cause it’s $PR!NG BR3AK #yolooooo.” To sum up, you may find yourself wondering whether or not the girls brought any actual clothing with them on the trip at all.
The girls are sent to jail but are quickly bailed out by a slimy and probably STD-ridden racist stereotype named Alien (James Franco), who supposedly helps them out because he “likes them.” After learning that Alien is a drug dealer and unnecessary weapon enthusiast, Faith decides she wants out. As her name suggests, Faith is a devout Christian and a religious youth group member, and she is mildly made fun of for this throughout the movie. This implies that in order to have any common sense about your own safety, you have to be an über-Christian “good girl” and, ultimately, a wet blanket.
The next girl to go home is Cotty, only after being SHOT IN THE ARM by one of Alien’s archenemies. This is followed by Alien singing a creepy nursery rhyme-esque song about his “four little chickies,” saying that two of them “went back to the farm,” but the ones he liked best were the ones who decided to stay with him. These are the same “chickies” who later threaten to kill Alien, but he forgives them because they’re so hot and are his “motherf***ing soulmates.” Together, they go on numerous crime sprees in a montage underscored by Britney Spears’s “Everytime,” leading up to a major gang war in which Candy and Brit, while wearing their bikinis and hot pink masks, manage to take out an entire house full of gang members.
What have we learned? A) Spring break is all about women taking their tops off and doing whatever is asked of them and B) if you’re not willing to comply with this, you will miss out on all the fun and never be heard from or spoken of again. While this molly trip excuse for a film could serve as a cautionary tale for young viewers, it will most likely be taken as permission to party hard. Just consider the fact that the two wildest of the four girls seem to be celebrated by the end with both the victory in the shootout and a threesome with James Franco in a hot tub (I presume this sequence is supposed to be appealing…?). It should also be noted that the only sex scenes in this film are threesomes, both of which seem pretty meaningless.
In conclusion, the only reasons you should see this movie would be either to get an example of how NOT to be a self-respecting female or if you just really want to feel sick and disoriented for an hour and a half. There is nothing else left to say about it, except that it is a tasteless, sexist, drug-fueled “Harlem Shake” video gone horribly wrong that maybe should have just been called “YOLO: The Movie.”
Cora Swise is a freshman B.F.A. Acting major. She likes black and white movies, tofu, and Tumblr.