Spring Breakdown
June 2, 2009

I was interested in Spring Breakdown because of its cast: It stars Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, and Rachel Dratch as three geeks who go to spring break even though they graduated college 15 years ago. They’re chaperoning the daughter of one of their bosses.

Spring Breakdown cover
Spring Breakdown
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My favorite part of the film was Jane Lynch as a gun-toting Senator. I love her sense of humor, and it was a surprise seeing her glammed up in a red power suit. Also appearing are Amber Tamblyn, Seth Meyers, Will Arnett, and Missi Pyle (hilarious!). All of these folks are quite talented, and I’m glad to see a female-centered comedy about accepting nerdiness and growing up. (Judd Apatow isn’t the only one with ideas about the subject!)

The characters start as cliches — a woman so desperate for a husband that she ignores his obvious homosexuality, the cause-obsessed single cat lady, the former fattie who’s always eager to eat, the drunk slut party girl with heart of gold. But the comedy quickly takes over and succeeds in spite of the start. (And these types of characters are more interesting and understandable to me than the usual porn-obsessed druggie cliche you see in these kinds of comedies.) I loved, for example, the scene where Poehler’s character uses her dog-training skills to get rid of stupid drunk guys. Having lived in Corpus Christi, Texas, I also found it amusing that the worrisome, debauched location of Spring Break revelry was South Padre Island. And Amber’s final showdown with her mom is a nice change of pace.

This movie is going direct to DVD (out today), and it’s being released after spring break season. (The IMDB message boards have folks claiming it was screened as early as summer 2007.) It’s a shame that female-driven movies are held to different expectations. It was reported in 2007 that Warner Brothers’ production president didn’t want movies starring women. Then there is the decision to take it straight to DVD despite “excellent test scores” and the potential to provide something different to the target audience, the movie-going non-teen woman that studios still actively ignore. I liked this film’s message that you’re never too old to have a good time, regardless of what you find fun.

Spring Breakdown party picture

The movie is worth a watch. It’s about how seductive partying, chasing youth, and slutting up can be, but how stupid those things ultimately are. There’s slapstick, and it’s funny, but there’s also meaningful emotional content. The two performance songs, True Colors and Hold On will definitely resonate with the older female audience. It’s a modern Where the Boys Are, only in this one, happiness isn’t about finding a guy; it’s about friendship and being yourself, even if you are a geek.

The DVD includes commentary by Rachel Dratch (who also co-wrote) and director/co-writer Ryan Shiraki as well as deleted scenes and a gag reel.

8 Responses  
Thom writes:  

Jane Lynch is in this??? Okay, I have to see it.

Johanna writes:  

Yeah, her presence is a good sign for me. Although I still haven’t seen Party Down.

Thom writes:  

I just sat through the entire first season of Party Down and really liked it. It’s a strong ensemble cast. Lynch isn’t the primary focus, but really, she excels at taking a side part and making it wholly memorable and worth watching.

She is not in the two final episodes of the first season, though Jennifer Coolidge fills in as her room mate, and as fall backs go, Coolidge is a choice.

Hal Shipman writes:  

This review sold it for me. It’s now on top of my Netflix queue. Thanks for the recommendation.

Johanna writes:  

I hope you like it!

Thom writes:  

Oh yeah…I added it this morning…supposed to arrive by tomorrow. :)

Thom writes:  

Okay…I enjoyed this one. Lynch was funny as always…and I enjoyed Missi Pyle as the adult who refused to grow up. Especially the scenes with her and Dratch.

It tried to do a lot for it’s three central characters, which is not bad, (one of the things I loved about the 40 Year Old Virgin is most of the major supporting characters got actual story arcs-rather than remaining static) but I felt at points the characters got a little short changed and they had to take shortcuts. But it is not a huge failing-the story still works. Thanks for recommending this one. :)

Johanna writes:  

That was quick! Glad you liked it. It’s not great art or anything, but I enjoyed it enough I didn’t mind watching it twice in a row (for the review and to evaluate the commentary).


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