03/18/2013 03:38 pm ET Updated Mar 21, 2013

'Spring Breakers' Reviews: Is Harmony Korine's Record-Breaking Movie Worth Seeing?

East and West coasters are shouting in their echo chamber this Monday about "Spring Breakers," Harmony Korine's neon-drenched new movie about "the kind of girls that get down with Britney." Depending on whom you trust, the most profitable limited release of 2013 is either a brilliant sendup of everything American -- from the entire genre of spring break movies to The Great Gatsby -- or a "stupid and asinine" exercise in directorial self-love. So should you drop $10 to watch Selena Gomez go bad this weekend, when "Spring Breakers" launches beyond a mere three theaters in NY and LA to the rest of the country, or can you save this one for a plane ride? Let's let the critics hash it out.


"Korine bores into a contested, deeply American topic — the pursuit of happiness taken to nihilistic extremes — but turns his exploration into such a gonzo, outrageously funny party that it takes a while to appreciate that this is more of a horror film than a comedy." -- Manohla Dargis, NY Times


"Is any of it sexy? Not especially. Is it violent? Plenty of TV shows are worse. Is it truthful? Well, yes and no. Korine does manage the nifty respiratory trick of breathing in the intoxicating perfume of debauchery while exhaling a self-satisfied soullessness about it all." -- Robert Abele, LA Times

Maybe? Because it's pretty?

"The movie does reveal an actual artist at work: French cinematographer Benoît Debie, who filmed Gaspar Noé’s truly transgressive Irreversible and Enter the Void. Saturating the images with a neon tinge, and supervising a sensational reverse-crane shot of revelers by the hundreds at a pool party, Debie gives Spring Breakers a great look, even if the movie’s mind is pretty much wasted." -- Richard Corliss, Time

Yes! Many times!

"Spring Breakers seems to be holding a funhouse mirror up to the face of youth-driven pop culture, leaving us uncertain whether to laugh, recoil in horror, or marvel at its strange beauty. All I knew is I couldn't wait to see it a second time." -- Scott Foundas, Village Voice

No! (Unless you're pretentious.)

"Is Spring Breakers deliberately stupid and asinine, a transgressive parody of Where the Boys Are that brazenly acknowledges what Korine’s admirers in the academy call the “commodification of the female body”? Does he mean to have his cheesecake and deconstruct it, too? Either way, I think the movie is swill — but I wouldn’t be shocked if a whole crop of cinema studies papers affirms the case for its genius." -- David Edelstein, New York

Maybe -- because Franco is actually pretty good you guys:

"The actors can't compete with the kinky, trippy visuals – except Franco, who surfs Korine's wavelength and doesn't wipe out. No small feat, given Korine's masturbatory self-regard." -- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Yes! Because It Gets Better!

"In the moment, I found it numbingly repetitive, even boring at times: an obvious juxtaposition of sex and violence, of dreamlike aesthetics within a nightmare scenario. And it is all of those things. But it stuck with me, and it made me appreciate the genius of Korine's approach." -- Christy LeMire, AP

Hell no -- remember "Trash Humpers?

Spring Breakers” raises once again the problem found in all of Korine’s movies, but most especially in “Trash Humpers,” which purported to be a found-footage VHS tape documenting the misadventures of back-alley Nashville degenerates. Is making something that is pointless and incoherent as an aesthetic choice somehow superior to doing so because you don’t know better?" -- Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

Maybe! Because like the other guy said, pretty!

"It has hypnotic visual style and a dense, driving soundscape. But it’s also too monotonous and thematically empty to be seriously provocative." -- David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

Yes. As if you would ever NOT watch a Harmony Korine movie, duh!

"What is new about “Spring Breakers” is the punch of the thing: positively raging with affect and crafted with a care that rebuffs the deliberate, faux-amateur roughness of early Korine." -- Anthony Lane, the New Yorker

I mean, you probably will right? No matter what the critics think?

All criticisms leveled against [Harmony Korine's films] are subject to the Pee-wee Herman Effect: “I meant to do that"...Find Korine's new film, Spring Breakers, a vacuous, repetitive, hyperbolically stupid fusion of Girls Gone Wild, Scarface, and that lesson-filled after-school special where Helen Hunt snorts crank and jumps out a window? Of course! That’s what so great about it! --Scott Tobias, the AV Club

"Spring Breakers"