' Cinema Romantico: Spring Breakdown

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Spring Breakdown

Filmed in 2006 and then mired in post-production that found it sold from one film company to another before being released direct-to-video in 2009, "Spring Breakdown", a variation on the plentiful spring break genre, stars Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch and Parker Posey. It just so happens I like Poehler, considering she stars in the only TV show I religiously watch, and no one does go-for-broke-frazzled like Dratch and that aforementioned list of My Top 5 Actors I'm Always Happy To See Turn Up, well, Posey was on it. So that's why I watched "Spring Breakdown." Good Enough?

Astute readers will notice I just referenced the title of a Cyndi Lauper song. This is because "Spring Breakdown" opens with our three leads at a college talent show performing Lauper's "True Colors." It is really quite exquisite, and one of the film's bright moments. And then they are booed off the stage to make way for a dance troupe getting jiggy to Marky Mark's "Good Vibrations." Ah, yes, the eternal struggle - 80's versus 90's. It seems our three ladies, Gayle (Poehler), Judi (Dratch), and Becky (Posey) don't have any friends besides each other. But this is okay because once they leave college they are going to conquer the world, which, of course, they don't. We catch up with them 15 years later and are immediately introduced to their obligatory personal predicaments.

Gayle, a dog trainer, seems to have overcome a few eating issues and serious low esteem, though these issues always threaten to re-emerge. Judi is engaged to William (Seth Meyers, who really should not be acting), an obvious gay man, a fact which everyone but Judi realizes. Becky is employed by the fast-talkin', whip-crackin', I-assume-she-takes-no-prisoners Senator Hartmann (recent Emmy winner Jane Lynch, good as always), who is on The Commander In Chief's short list to be promoted to Vice President and whose daughter Ashley (Amber Tamblyn) is set to visit South Padre Island for spring break to try and re-woo the love of her life and needing anything but poor family publicity Senator Hartmann enlists Becky to secretly keep an eye on her daughter. And so instead of a trip to Tempe, Arizona for a woman's folk festival the three best friends take off for South Padre as one.

Once there Gayle morphs into Lindsey Lohan in "Mean Girls", befriending "The Sevens", seven positively vicious woo-girls who are responsible for wooing (!) away Ashley's ex-love, and Judi morphs into Will Ferrell's Frank The Tank in "Old School", drinking herself into oblivion and having a pseduo one night stand, and Becky pretty much stays the same, going so far as to become a straight-arrow mentor to Ashley and her two plain jane pals (wait, two trios of gal best friends? Hmmmmmm....).

(The Sevens all drinking Sierra Nevada. Wait...that's MY beer! Does this make me a hipster doofus?)

Lessons will be learned, greater truths reached, and, of course, it all comes full circle with a talent show. Most strange about this misfire is how director Ryan Shiraki's supposed film of female empowerment so often seems to instead exploit those females. It clearly wants to be an outrageous spoof of the whole teen sex comedy and instead becomes exactly what it yearns to send up.

Our three intrepid ladies do their best - most of the time - and every once in awhile a line reading will rise up and make you take notice, such as: "We're human beings - not tacos" or, best of all, Dratch declaring of her impending nuptials "It will be a small, priiiiiiiivate affair" which means nothing here but made me laugh so hard I got a few tears in my eyes. But when line readings are all you got, you ain't got much. I kinda hope next spring break they actually make it to Tempe for the woman's folk festival. It might be funnier.

1 comment:

Simon said...

Seth Meyers wasn't so bad...

God, this really was terribly mediocre.