Spring Breakdown

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Spring Breakdown Movie Poster Image
Raunchy comedy is a waste of time, brain cells.
  • R
  • 2009
  • 84 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Young women are shown to be two-faced, cliquish, and cruel, while some, with less self-confidence, are willing to do anything to be accepted into the group.  Most suffer no remorse, nor are there consequences for bad behavior. Homosexuality is seen only as a stereotype. A blind man is the brunt of a recurring joke. Everything, however, is depicted as over-the-top, ridiculous behavior not meant to be imitated or taken seriously.

Violence

Slapstick roughhousing, including salsa wrestling, girls fighting clumsily, a character hit with a football, a whack in the face, a false threat with a "loaded gun," and a dead cat seen from a short distance.

Sex

Frequent sexual references. Female bodies are rarely seen in anything other than bikinis, thongs, short shorts, tight tube tops, or wet T-shirts. There is passionate male-female kissing, slobbering, girls kissing, sexy dancing, bumps, grinds, a "threesome," and a brief scene with a gay massage in process. However, there is no nudity, and there are no serious sexual encounters.

Language

Constant swearing, racy language, and sexual dialogue: "eat me," "s--t," "take a leak,"  "piece of a--," "turd," "smell like a--," "feel like a--," "butt-sucking,"  "bitch," "horny," "penis," "bone me," "went down on a guy" and numerous instances of "slut." The F-word, however, is kept to a minimum.   

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

College kids and immature adults spend a week drinking to excess and partying non-stop. Almost every scene shows someone chug-a-lugging beer, doing shots, and getting wildly drunk. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a comedy that takes the concept of spring break to its most outrageous levels. While there is no actual nudity, college-aged girls wear bikinis, tight shorts, thongs, etc. and little else throughout the film. The dialogue is filled with references to body parts, coarse swearing, and crude language, all delivered to get laughs. Sexual episodes include: lots of sexy dancing, passionate kissing, girls kissing, a "threesome," and a glimpse of a gay massage. Kids, having no adult supervision, spend a week dancing, drinking, getting drunk, and letting their libidos run wild. Even the semi-sensible adults, of which there are only a few, get caught up in the rowdy, self-indulgent, never-ending party.

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What's the story?

Three young women: Gayle O'Brien (Amy Poehler), Becky St. Germaine (Parker Posey) and Judi Joskow (Rachel Dratch), have been best friends since college. They were nerds then, and even though they stuck together and their friendship was strong, they longed to be "cool" and popular. SPRING BREAKDOWN finds them fifteen years later and nothing's changed. They're single working women, still feeling like outsiders. When Becky's boss, Senator Kay Bee Hartmann (Jane Lynch doing a dead-on parody of... Jane Lynch), sends her to watch over her daughter Ashley (Amber Tamblyn), Gayle and Judi join her. The three bring their blissful obliviousness to the non-stop drunken party, where they find that Ashley is more like them than the "in-crowd" she's courting. Many beers and much dirty dancing later, Ashley saves what minor self-respect she has, and our heroines return to reality a little bit (very little) wiser.

Is it any good?

Three very talented women wind up humiliating themselves in a movie with too little story, too few laughs. Spring Breakdown follows the enormous success of bawdy comedies in which inept, socially awkward man-boys find joy and solace in each other's company (Superbad, Role Models, I Love You Man). Too bad the film's amateurish production values led it straight to DVD-land. It's a frenzy of skimpy bikinis, racy dialogue, drunken partying, and women trying way too hard to be stupider and more unconscious than they look. Could it be that it's impossible for women to appear that clueless?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how real or unreal this spring break is. What are some of the real consequences that might result from the wild behavior? How do you think the relationship between Ashley and her mother changed after spring break? When, if ever, do you think it's acceptable to set aside your values and your sense of right and wrong in order to be accepted by your peers? Discuss how it might feel to be different. What are some things you can do to appreciate your own specialness?

Movie details

For kids who love comedies

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