Friday Flicks: Is ‘Spring Breakers’ Too Much or Too Funny?

TIME breaks down which films to see and which to avoid this weekend.

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Spring Breakers

Tagline: Wish you were here.

Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine) and Faith (Selena Gomez) simply cannot wait for spring break to come around so they can finally have some fun and leave behind their oh-so-boring collegiate lives. And as they’ve all been friends since grade school, chances are what happens on spring break will stay on spring break.

But they haven’t taken into account the impact that rapper “Alien” (James Franco) will have on their young lives, as he promises to provide them with all the excitement they can handle.

While it seems like a the perfect setup for an awful film — former Disney teen princesses gone bad — critical opinion seems to be mainly on the side of the spring breakers. “At once blunt and oblique, Spring Breakers looks different depending on how you hold it up to the light,” notes the New York Times. “The movie is an arty lark of ambiguous entertainment value, pulsing with melancholy,” says the Los Angeles Times. But New York magazine isn’t falling for it, asking in a headline “Is Spring Breakers One of the Perviest Movies Ever Made?” before commenting that it’s “swill,” and that “by the time the movie segues into a bloody shoot-’em-up, with girls in bikinis firing automatic weapons, it has lost its visceral kick.”

TIME REVIEW: James Franco as the Wizard of Odd


Tagline: Let someone in

It seems hard to believe that Tina Fey and Paul Rudd have never appeared together on screen before. Shouldn’t two actors as cute and funny as Fey and Rudd be drawn towards working together, through some law of comedic gravity if nothing else?

In Admission, directed by Paul Weitz (About a Boy, In Good Company), we all get to find out if they do bring the funny. Fey plays Portia Nathan, an admissions officer at Princeton University, who evaluates thousands of applicants. But with the dean of admissions (Wallace Shawn) retiring, Portia has an opportunity to move up — until she meets up with her former college classmate John (Rudd) on a tour of high schools.

It doesn’t exactly sound as laugh-worthy as an episode of 30 Rock, and many critics don’t think Admission makes the grade. “Paul Weitz betrays an erratic grip on the comic tone, and the misguided central characters emerge, in the end, as less likeable than they ought to be,” notes the Hollywood Reporter. “Fey has the ­Sandra Bullock role — exactly the kind of part that she has spent the last decade transcending,” comments New York magazine. But Screen International is far happier, concluding that Fey’s “chemistry with Rudd is sharp, giving Admission many of its finest moments.”

TIME STYLE & DESIGN: Tina Fey Rocks On

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: One way or another, you’ll need an opinion on Spring Breakers, whereas you might not feel the same way about Admission.

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