Harmony Korine started his career back in 1995 by writing the screenplay for youths-behaving-badly movie “Kids,” and some two decades later he’s still playing the same card. “Spring Breakers” is set amid the annual college-student migration to Florida during spring vacation, where drunken public debauchery is de rigueur as the beaches become a nonstop weeklong party.
Korine’s main move here is bad-girling the images of teen queens Selena Gomez (“Wizards of Waverly Place”), Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”) and Ashley Benson (“Pretty Little Liars”), who star with the director’s wife, Rachel Korine. The quartet play college girls whose ambition to go wild in Florida is stunted by a lack of funds, so they knock over a diner to get some quick cash. The girls develop a taste for danger, which escalates upon meeting metal-toothed rapper/gangsta Alien (James Franco).
On one level, this is the straightest movie Korine (“Gummo,” “Trash Humpers”) has been involved with since “Kids”; it almost feels like a brainless fantasy fulfillment of a generation’s worth of clichés, set to music by Skrillex and Britney Spears. On the other, Korine is suggesting that this spring break may be a break with reality, a collective hallucination of the pop-cultural id. As Spinal Tap once noted, it’s such a fine line between clever and stupid.