‘Spring Breakers’ is a world away from Disney


I might be a prude.

I’ve never considered myself one before, but it smacked me in the face a couple of weeks ago when I heard the first rumblings about “Spring Breakers,” a new independent movie starring two actresses my 11-year-old daughter Celeste admires: Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens.

By starring in "Spring Breakers," two actresses who found fame with Disney have broken their squeaky clean image, much to the dismay of this prudish dad.

By starring in “Spring Breakers,” two actresses who found fame with Disney have broken their squeaky clean image, much to the dismay of this prudish dad.

If you have a prepubescent or teenage daughter, I’m sure you know who they are.

Selena Gomez rose to fame a few years ago as Alex Russo on Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” and has released three successful albums. And Vanessa Hudgens found the spotlight as Gabriella Montez in 2006 with the release of Disney Channel’s runaway hit “High School Musical.”

Both actresses became teen stars playing squeaky clean girls who have characteristics most fathers would be proud to see in their own daughters. And Celeste loves it all.

But by starring in “Spring Breakers,” both actresses have turned their backs the kids who made them famous and are portraying characters no father in his right mind wants his daughter to mimic.

Here’s a synopsis of the R-rated movie from its website:

“Four sexy college girls plan to fund their spring break getaway by burglarizing a fast food shack. But that’s only the beginning… During a night of partying, the girls hit a roadblock when they are arrested on drug charges. Hungover and clad only in bikinis, the girls appear before a judge but are bailed out unexpectedly by Alien, an infamous local thug who takes them under his wing and leads them on the wildest Spring Break trip in history. Rough on the outside but with a soft spot inside, Alien wins over the hearts of the young Spring Breakers, and leads them on a Spring Break they never could have imagined.”

Sigh. Disney this is not. Needless to say, we will not take Celeste to this movie, and I hope she never sees any material associated with it.

Even as I write this, I have to go to the “Spring Breakers” website in secret out of fear Celeste will walk into the room and catch of glimpse of one of her favorite actresses taking a bong hit.

But I can’t control what she and other girls see or talk about at lunch or on the playground, so I would not be surprised if she finds out about the movie somehow.

I suppose the best I can do is tell her not to put too much faith in celebrities because they are not necessarily similar to the characters they portray, and reinforce the fact that the real people in her life make better role models than celebrities.

But what bothers me most is both actresses felt it was necessary to rely on their sex appeal as pretty 20-somethings to break their Disney princess image. What kind of message does that send to young girls everywhere?

Male actors don’t need to resort to such measures.

Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens’ co-star from “High School Musical,” is breaking out of his teen image by starring in mainstream movies.

And remember Tom Hanks? He may not have been a teen idol, but he started his career as a goofy comedic actor on “Bosom Buddies” in the early 1980s.

He then starred in a string of low-brow comedies (“Bachelor Party,” “The Money Pit,” “Joe vs. the Volcano,” and more) before proving his acting chops in “A League of their Own,” “Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and the list goes on.

I understand actors wanting to try something new and stretch their art form so they are not typecast for their entire career.

But do they not have some responsibility to the fans who made them famous in the first place? Do they have to break their typecast mold with a sex-infused sledgehammer?

Perhaps that makes me a prude. But when it comes to outside influences on my young daughter, a prude I shall happily be.

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