b rad’s review published on Letterboxd:
This loud, obnoxious assault on the senses and good taste is a film I'm pretty fascinated by. For one, I don't think I've ever seen so much stunt casting and pop culture obsession in a film, this is very much a film about pop culture of now. Trends like trap rap, wrestling, dubstep, YouTube viral sensations, Disney tween shows and everything else is thrown together either in a meta way or self-evidently in the film - you wonder how it's going to age considering how blatantly 2010s it is - only the Kimbo Slice video was off-the-mark and a few years late as an allusion.
On the one hand, this film is really dumb and blunt. The Christian girl is called Faith, for Christ's sake (no pun intended). The other 3 are essentially interchangeable, it's alarming how little we know about the three "bad" girls. Most of the dialogue is so simple and trite and is repeated ad nauseam, and Gucci Mane is a stronger rapper than actor (and truth be told, he's a pretty terrible rapper). But it's a film that has ingeniously made itself pretty impervious to criticism - to call it vapid, indulgent or thoughtless seems to play into what the film is satirising. Spring Break is dumb, hedonistic, thoughtless and brash and in your face (as is a lot of youth culture), and so is the film.
There's some incredibly powerful sequences - the Britney Spears montage, the Franco "look at my sheeeeit!" soliloquy and the robbery scene, all brilliant and instantly iconic. It looks great, the neon lights and bright colours leave an impression and the soundtrack is great and fitting. It's a hard film to talk about in any coherent or intelligent way, but it's an intense, visceral, dark and beautiful ride that has a lot of superficial flaws on the top, but an underlying power and attraction underneath. Not everyone will love it, but I'd consider it essential, I'd be surprised if a film this year leaves more of an impression on me.