Spring Breakdown


Rating 1

Directed by Ryan Shiraki

Written by Ryan Shiraki, based on a story by Ryan Shiraki and Rachel Dratch

Starring Amy Poehler (Gayle), Parker Posey (Becky), Rachel Dratch (Judi), Amber Tamblyn (Ashley), Missi Pyle (Charlene), Sophie Monk (Mason), Sarah Hagan (Truvy), Mae Whitman (Lydia), Seth Myers (William), Jonathan Sadowski (Doug), Justin Hartley (Todd), Will Arnett (Ted), Loretta Devine (Dr Marguerite), Patrick Fabian (Kevin) and Jay Lynch (Kay Bee Hartmann)

Gayle, Becky and Judi have been best friends since high school, but in the fifteen years that have passed by since graduation they have never grown out of being geeks who are routinely trampled on by the world around them. When Gayle, who runs a dog obedience school, is knocked back by a blind client when she asks him to go to the Amy Grant concert with her and Judi breaks up with her fiancé William, when it finally dawns on her that he is gay, they join Becky on a trip to South Padre for a college spring break. Becky has been charged by her employer Senator Kay Bee Hartmann, who is the frontrunner to become the next Vice-President, to keep her daughter Ashley out of trouble.


My decision to watch ‘Spring Breakdown’ was based entirely on the cast. I knew next to nothing about the film and did not check any reviews first, not that they would have affected my decision. From the very first scene onwards, showing the three main characters performing ‘True Colors’ at a school talent contest, I knew the film was in trouble. The cast alone probably makes it worth more than one star for me, but otherwise I think I am being very generous giving it that one star.

‘Spring Breakdown’ is a film that perpetually feels like it might and should, in different circumstances, have been side-splittingly funny, but, apart from a few isolated chuckles brought about by the efforts of a more than competent cast, it just doesn’t raise a laugh. This film manages to be resolutely unfunny from start to finish as we watch Gayle, Becky and Judi get involved in keg parties and wet t-shirt competitions and all manner of outrageous and equally uninteresting college student hi-jinks. This is a film about three very nice people who are constantly put-upon and “unlucky in love” for that very same reason who suddenly get to do all the things they missed out on in college, only to discover, eventually, that they like who they are.

One of the reviews I have read since watching the film makes a comparison to ‘The House Bunny’ and, by coincidence, all the way through the film I could not help but think of Anna Faris whenever Amy Poehler, who I do like, was on the screen. It brought home to me once again just how effortless Faris is at playing comedy and how she seems able to transcend her material.

Poehler, Rachel Dratch, who co-wrote the story that the screenplay is based on, Will Arnett and Seth Meyer are all best known for their work on Saturday Night Live and the hit-or-miss quality of that show equates here. Meyer is currently the head writer on SNL, taking over the role from Tina Fey. He is credited with writing the sketches involving Fey impersonating Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential election.

‘Spring Breakdown’, which apparently had a production budget a little over $12 million (although this seems a rather unlikely figure to me), was premiered at the Sundance film festival, but was then announced for release direct to DVD.

Review posted 13 June 2009


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