Starring: Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Parker Posey, Amber Tambyln, Jane Lynch, Seth Myers
Written & Directed By: Ryan Shiraki
Rachel Dratch and writer/director, Ryan Shiraki, got together to create Spring Breakdown after realizing the lack of good comedy roles for women. The main cast is almost entirely female. Each of the all star actresses involved use their comedic charm to work off each other, making this a hilarious and very fun film to watch.
Judi (Dratch), Gayle (Poehler), and Becky (Posey) were far from being popular in high school. At least they had each other though and as hard as not fitting in was they just told themselves that this was the popular kid’s peak. They would end up miserable after high school and Judi, Gayle, and Becky would have it all.
We see a shot of three attractive and successful women, and walking behind them are our 3 main characters who are about at the same social stature that they were in high school. Gayle is a teacher, a dog teacher anyway. Judi is planning her wedding with her fiancé, William (Myers), and she can’t be more thrilled to be getting married. However, when she comes home from work early one day, she finds William being intimately massaged by a shirtless man. She calls off the wedding and has to face the hard truth that the man she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with is gay. Becky is an environmentalist and really wants to make a difference in the world. Right now she is an assistant to Senator Kay Bee Hartmann (Lynch). There has been a major scandal with the President and they are looking for someone with a clean record. Senator Hartmann might have a shot at the Presidency if she can keep what she believes is her out of control, sorority daughter, Ashley (Tambyln), under control long enough.
Becky hopes that if she can do a good job with this assignment than hopefully she can rise up and get a position where she can better make an impact. In order to go on Spring Break in South Padre, TX, where Ashley will be, she has to cancel a woman’s appreciation road trip with her friends.After Judi’s breakup and Gayle getting blown off by a blind man for having too ugly of a face, she decides that they could all use a vacation to have some real fun. When they get to their hotel it is full of trash, people passed out everywhere, and those continuing to drink until they do pass out. Their room itself has panties left behind, used condoms, and is completely grotesque.
Trying to find Ashley, they go to a party at a club that night. Gayle sees a few horny guys who don’t seem to be able to take no for an answer from the girls they are hitting on. Gayle talks to them like she does the dogs she works with and gets rid of them. A popular group of girls called “The Sevens” are so impressed by this and end up becoming friends with Gayle. They give her a make-over and skankify her. Pretty soon she becomes an easy, shallow, binge drinker who stays out all night, waking up around a group of strangers, and lays on the beach all day again before doing it all again. She is so thrilled that she is training her girls for a talent show in hopes that unlike in high school, this might be one she could actually win.
Judi gets drunk as well one night and wakes up next to a young, attractive man, assuming she had sex with him. For the rest of the trip, she makes several comments to him approaching him as if they were in a relationship when he clearly has no idea who she is. When Becky finds Ashley she becomes friends with her so she can keep a closer eye on her. She finds out that Ashley is not the wild child that her mother thinks she is. She is actually pretty dorky as a theater and medieval enthusiast. She has just lost her boyfriend who seems to like The Sevens much more than her. She is determined to change and be the girl that this guy could fall for again. Throughout this as well is some interference from Becky. Ashley ends up getting in much more trouble than she would have ever gotten in to normally. Meanwhile, Judi and Gayle have to question the lifestyle they have been living and who they really are.
The cast really made this film so entertaining to watch. I can’t remember seeing Rachel Dratch had some great material struggling in her relationship with her clearly gay fiancé and acting like she was in a relationship with a guy who looked like an Abercrombie and Fitch model. With Seth Meyers, she gives out a great oblivious vibe towards him as if he is speaking another language. Seth Myers was hilarious in these scenes as well. His character represents the laziness of the internet generation where we have to shorten everything we type. He abbreviates every word though in normal conversation, and I mean every single world he says throughout the whole movie. Between that and trying to act like he really isn’t gay, despite the clear evidence, being completely dumbfounded by everything he says seems to be the only reaction you could have towards him. The scenes with Dratch and her mystery one night stand man were extremely funny as well. His reactions are priceless, which just makes Dratch’s heartfelt language towards him all the more strange.
Amy Poehler uses her trademark attitude here as Gayle, particularly as the made over Gayle, the type of person she hated in high school. She is very funny as the second version of herself and just how her interactions change is amusing. Still, some of her funniest moments were those where she treated men like dogs and essentially was her true self. She was so bright and funny as her dorky self that you couldn’t help but love that person. Parker Posey probably played the dorkiest of the three friends and certainly the one who was happiest being this way.
Jane Lynch was hilarious as usual as the tough, gun loving, senator. The way she intimidated Posey’s character was particularly entertaining. I’m really glad Amber Tamblyn took on the role of Ashley. There is this very youthful characteristic here and she almost looks younger than much younger characters she has played in the past. There is an incredible energy that she shows. Tamblyn is a lot like a younger version of Posey’s character. She has such a joy in things that most people would look down on. The difference is that she is letting one guy tell her that it is something she should be ashamed of. She struggles with how to change in to an ideal image, but in the end gains the courage to simply be herself.
It was also quite a joy to see Sarah Hagan, who played one of the quirkiest geek girls, Milly, on Freaks and Geeks. She played a pretty similar character, appalled by the actions of the popular. Laguna Beach’s Kristin Cavalleri had a small role in this as well. I never thought she would be in a film this good, but she only had two lines and was essentially playing herself so it wasn’t any huge stretch. Leslie Grossman from What I Like About You and Missy Pyle were pretty funny as a few of the constantly trashed women too who weren’t simply on spring break like most of the college kids.
Spring Breakdown is about taking a walk on the wild side to see how good your life is as is. It’s about staying true to yourself even if it takes you awhile to see that is the person you really want to be. The ending with Ashley and her mother isn’t 100% believable, but it works and brings out this theme in doing so. Of course, the talent show that we see at the end is just as priceless as the one we see of the three girl’s in high school in the beginning. The characters are a ton of fun. There is a lot of creativity with the level of dorkiness in these characters that makes them completely loveable. Seeing them as such opposites through moments during the film is like a very entertaining experiment with no idea of where things are going to go next. There are so many priceless moments in the film that make it most funny especially through the obscurity of situations. As of now it’s set to go straight to DVD, but they are looking for further distribution. I really hope it ends up going to theaters, since I think this will be a real crowd pleaser for audiences that deserves to be seen rather than get lost on DVD.