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Ali Kokot & Hayley Brooks
Think Twice

Credit: Hayley Brooks and Ali Kokot

While we all had to come back on Monday, some had something else in mind.

“Spring break forever, bitches.”

That, an actual quote from the film’s trailer, just about sums up the plot of “Spring Breakers,” a raunchy thriller set to release next Friday featuring our favorite holiday. But if we look beyond the champagne showers, drug overlords — one of whom is a braided and grilled James Franco — and bikini-clad booties, we can find a metaphor buried in the sand of Florida’s beaches.

The film unveils a stock of precious Disney Channel child stars in what we’d call their dirty debutante ball moment. Just like at a deb ball, Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez are coming out to us all, shirking their squeaky clean pasts and proclaiming their total badassery. Vanessa Hudgens goes rubia and Gomez abandons wizardry for the dark arts, just as Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears have done before them.

While these actresses use “Spring Breakers” as a catalyst for reinvention, we too use our own week of spring break to rebrand ourselves. We come back to campus debuting our newly sun-kissed skin, rested minds and newfound drive, with fresh new pictures that prove we’re fun, we swear.

All in all, we come back ready to end the semester “right.” For some that means aspiring to make high grades, while for others it’s taking it easy and stripping down to catch rays on College Green (take a cue from Hudgens’ and Gomez’s lack of attire throughout the film).

Lengthy cross-Atlantic plane rides, couch time at home and hours on the beach gave us plenty of time to check in with ourselves and map out our trajectory. While many of our spring breaks borrowed a few of “Spring Breakers’” less ridiculous scenes — think sea of red cups by the sea — we hope we all came to better conclusions about our future than Hudgens and Gomez did.

When Hudgens and Gomez checked in to envision their futures, they checked out. The transition from child star to mature actress is rarely rosy, and in “Spring Breakers,” these two check off some of the usual boxes — bearing arms and baring flesh. As with all great quandaries, we wonder what Justin Bieber has to say.

There’s something terribly eerie about ex-child stars playing armed, ditzy college girls who’ve espoused the thug life, as they cock guns and fan bills. Hudgens and Gomez shock us with their characters’ rather liberal morals. Let’s try to keep it classy next time, ladies.

Though the film has some street cred — with its premiere at the South by Southwest festival where it was commended for its arts house feel and kaleidoscopic cinematography — we just can’t take this movie seriously. We wish we could ask the girls if they want to be considered fine actresses or were just hoping to land Seth McFarlane’s “we’ve seen your boobs list,” sans artistic acclaim.

Escaping the clutches of child stardom may require some skin exposure, but come on, starring in a film where you rob a bank to fund a spring break trip hardly seems adult. We would have hoped for some loftier aspirations. What’s next — “Summer Breakers?”

Maybe we’re too conservative. Director Harmony Korine could majorly wow us next Friday with his artsy blend of Disney, drugs and dubstep.

But this is just the beginning of potentially lengthy careers for Hudgens and Gomez. This year they star as drug lord groupies, but soon — we hope — they’ll move to brighter roles. Not all reinventions will take off, but everyone will make mistakes on their life paths — though the hurdles may just be part of a larger ruse orchestrated by the craftiest of Hollywood publicists. Or perhaps these stars needed to go radical to break out of the tween scene, so we’ll hold off on final judgment.

Spring break should be a catalyst for ending the year strong — now that we’re back on campus, it’s time to set our paths in motion.

Remember earlier resolutions. See how you’ve grown since September. Embark on a project you thought up on the beach. With just two short months till the end of the school year, you’ve got an excellent timeslot to accomplish a goal.

But whatever you do, be sure to shoot high — at least higher than Hudgens’ and Gomez’s low.

Ali Kokot and Hayley Brooks are College juniors from New York City and Ft. Lauderdale, F.L. respectively. You can email them at or follow them at @haybethbrooks and @alikokot. “Think Twice” appears every Wednesday.

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