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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Spring Breakdown

MOVIE REVIEWS

SPRING BREAKDOWN (2009)

Starring Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, Amber Tamblyn, Rachel Dratch, Jane Lynch, Missy Pyle, Seth Myers, Will Arnett, Sophie Monk, Jonathan Sadowski, Mae Whitman, Sarah Hagan, Jack McBrayer, Loretta Devine, Bruce Villanch, Alani 'La La' Vazquez and Christopher Knight.

Screenplay by Ryan Shiraki and Rachel Dratch.

Directed by Ryan Shiraki.

Distributed by Warner Premiere.  84 minutes.  Rated R.

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Spring Breakdown

Apparently, the lesson that we are supposed to glean from Spring Breakdown is that is you let a group of women in their mid-thirties loose with a bunch of nubile college kids and alcohol; they will make even bigger asses of themselves than men their age would. 

I suppose there is some kind of enlightened thinking behind that.  It is a feminist statement for a confused generation, perhaps. 

More to the point, the lesson we learn from Spring Breakdown is that even if you have an extraordinarily strong cast, there is only so much you can do with an awful script. 

That script – co-written by former Saturday Night Live regular Rachel Dratch, who also co-stars here – is a mess.  A soggy mixture of Old School, Mean Girls and Black Sheep (oddly, all of those movies also came from former SNL cast members), the plot squanders a potentially intriguing storyline by consistently making just the wrong artistic choices. 

However, props to Dratch for pulling in some favors and getting a surprisingly deep cast of performers – Dratch’s former SNL friends Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers, talented actresses Parker Posey and Amber Tamblyn and consistent comic sidekicks Jane Lynch and Will Arnett and lots and lots of hot college-aged boys and girls.  Then again, it also features cameos by Christopher Knight, Bruce Villanch and La La as themselves – so I guess Dratch’s goodwill well only goes so deep. 

Very few of them are given lines worthy of their talents, but all of them try gamely to punch up the contrived situations and questionable dialogue. 

Which is probably why even with a cast like this, Spring Breakdown is slinking straight onto video after a rather disastrous reception at the Sundance Festival. 

Posey, Poehler and Dratch’s characters of Becky, Gayle and Judi are introduced in flashback to their senior year of college, a trio of nerd-girls who are determined to have wonderful, exciting lives.  Fast forward to present day and they are the same place – two are single and one is engaged to an obviously gay man. 

Becky works for a loud-mouthed Texas Senator (Lynch) who has the opportunity to become the first female Vice President of the US.  (Sorry, Sarah Palin, you blew it…).  When her daughter (Tamblyn) is going to spring break at a party town called San Padre (ouch!), the senator sends Becky to keep an eye on her and keep her out of trouble. 

However, it turns out that daughter Ashley has a deep, dark secret from her mother – she is a nerd, too.  She feels uncomfortable at all the wet t-shirt parties and foam parties (do they still do those?  That seems so 90s…).  She is only in town because her hunky boyfriend dumped her for a bitchy hot party girl. 

While Becky behaves and keeps an eye on Ashley, her best friends decide to live the crazy life they missed in college – full of alcohol, sex and shallowness. 

It’s even marginally funny for a while, before the flick downshifts into a shocking amount of girl-power sappiness.  For a film that started out a bit wickedly cynical, the total non-ironic immersion into schmaltz is a bit of a shock. 

However, it’s not like this shift ruins the film – the film was beyond redemption long before this curious misstep.

 Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 29, 2009.

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Copyright ©2009   PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 29, 2009.

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