Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens go wild in new movie

3 May 2013 / 3 years 5 months ago

College friends Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) look forward to that annual party known as spring break. While in Florida during the holiday, they meet drug dealer and aspiring rapper Alien (James Franco), who insinuates his way into their lives. The Straits Times reports that American film-maker Harmony Korine began his career by co-writing Kids (1995), a piece of provocation about adolescent date rape, drugs and Aids. He returns to the topic of teenagers gone wild with this work. After almost two decades, the elements that made Kids so memorable are still present in this Korine penned-and-directed film: a fascination with child-woman characters who are the queasy embodiment of male fantasy and the predatory men who circle them like sharks. This time, though, the women seem smarter and more in control - or are they? Candy (Hudgens of High School Musical fame), Brit (Benson), Faith (Gomez of the Disney Channel and girlfriend of Justin Bieber) and Cotty (played by 40-year-old Korine's 27-year-old wife, Rachel) make all the important decisions in this film. They are dumb and impetuous - life-threateningly so - but the plot turns on the choices they make. Korine could be said to be having both his cake and eating it but,, in this respect, he is no different from the many Hollywood directors who point leering cameras at thinly clad but highly empowered female characters. In this respect, Korine, as with much else in this film, cleverly walks the moral line. The girls here do everything in bikinis, to a degree that becomes pointedly absurd - they shop, go to jail and drive cars in neon-tinted two-pieces - but Korine never dwells on their forms in the voyeuristic manner of directors such as Michael Bay (the Transformers franchise) or Zack Snyder (Sucker Punch, 2011). His careful edits suggest a deliberate exploitation of their sexuality while at the same time expressing a repugnance of it. For example, the scene-setting shots of random drunk girls flashing mobs of howling men are anything but titillating. The plot - what little there appears to be of it - is about ennui-drenched young women who seek thrills in crime and in the company of thoroughly repellent drug dealer Alien (Franco, in greasy dreadlocks, Hawaiian shirts and reptilian grin enhanced by a massive gold grille clamped on his front teeth). Korine paints a picture of a candy-coloured world that is as much a jungle as it is paradise. Character motivations do not make a great deal of sense and acting performances here are mostly of the, throwaway variety. But then the audience is sober and the characters are drugged, both on narcotics and the promise of a never-ending party in South Florida.

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