Review: Spring Breakdown (2009)

Spring Breakdown (2009)

Directed by: Ryan Shiraki | 80 minutes | comedy | Actors: Parker Posey, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Amber Tamblyn, Seth Meyers, Sophie Monk, Jonathan Sadowski, Missi Pyle, Jane Lynch, Mae Whitman, Sarah Hagan, Jana Kramer, Kristin Cavallari, Justin Hartley, Nick Thune, Bruce Vilanch, Christopher Knight, LaLa Vazquez, Mindy Sterling, Patrick Fabian, Loretta Devine, Rachel Hamilton, Karissa Thoma, Brie Gabrielle, Will Arnett, Danny Arroyo, Paul Keeley, Jack McBrayer

Spring Break is a well-known phenomenon in many countries, but the American variant is especially notorious. Students go to an often sunny place for a period of a week, such as Cancún, Jamaica or Miami Beach and get completely fed up with booze and drugs, party until the late hours and have sex with anyone. It’s a time to refuel and let things go. ‘Spring Breakdown’ is certainly not the first comedy devoted to this phenomenon, but it is a surprisingly fun one.

The three friends Judi (Rachel Dratch), Gayle (Amy Poehler) and Becky (Parker Posey) have known each other since high school, where they bonded because none of the three was liked by the other students. In fact, they were even very unpopular. This is shown in a funny scene where, without much effort to disguise it, the adult actresses, all three well into their thirties or even forty, put down the younger versions of their characters during a performance. Their rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “True colors” can count on little acclaim and the trio is booed. They promise each other to become cool and popular later on, after which the film jumps 15 years in time and we see the shapely and sexy-clothed bodies of three ladies. Wait a minute… is that…? Well, no, three other women stumble out of a coffee shop and those are of course our three main characters.

It should come as no surprise that the three friends are still losers: Although Judi is going to marry her fiancé William, she does not yet know that he is gay. Gayle is a guide dog trainer, but the little self-confidence she gained after losing a lot of weight takes a huge dent when she’s rejected by a blind client (short but fun cameo by Will Arnett). Becky is undervalued in her humble job as an office manager for a successful Senator (Jane Lynch). She treats her pet, cat Honey, as her friend, and is deeply saddened when the animal dies. However, her friendship with Judi and Gayle helps her recover.

Every spring, the three friends take a trip to celebrate their friendship and this year they get the chance to do what they never did as college students: celebrate their spring break at a popular location, Texas South Padre Island! When Becky’s boss, Senator Hartmann, has a chance to become vice president, she’s reminded that everything around her has to be “spotless.” However, her daughter, the geeky Ashley (Amber Tamblyn), is about to celebrate her first spring break, and because the Senator is convinced that her daughter is as popular as she was during her college days, she worries about possible missteps that her daughter will commit. That’s why Becky is sent to keep an eye on Ashley. Judi and Gayle join her on this journey.

The majority of the film takes place in sunny South Padre Island (although the film was shot in California). The plot is quite predictable, but still entertaining because of the humorous situations. This is largely due to the well-written jokes and the excellent acting of the cast. Not only do two of the three protagonists have excellent comedic timing (Parker Posey doesn’t have much to do unfortunately), the supporting actors are also doing well, Missi Pyle as the eternal but that puts Spring Breaker ahead.

However, ‘Spring Breakdown’ does not try to be innovative, but resembles many other films in the genre, in which people in their thirties find out that they still have made nothing of their lives. That makes this comedy just a nice snack. Lasts much shorter than a real spring break, but fun guaranteed and that without a hangover or STD!

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