Helmer Zach Clark's stylized, sugar-laced feature really pops. About four college gals who reunite for a beach trip, these girls' last stand against the indefinite daily grind (i.e. adulthood) makes you feel the invulnerability of youth. Trouble brews when the girls' voracious appetite for deviance backfires. From first lick, the nostalgic film carries a hypnotic charge. Viewers, beware of this one: it's sure to break hearts with its throbbing synth music tracks by Portland-based duo Glass Candy. Plenty of folks will develop a crush on Vacation! but those who fall will fall hard.
When Judd Nelson's John Bender was mounting Breakfast Club hallway high jinks, he snickered to goody two-shoes Claire Standish: "Being bad feels pretty good, huh?" This quartet of ex-classmates would contest that. Each is fed up with the drab hand-to-mouth daze they live as schoolteachers and secretaries. With the magic words "Piña-fucking-coladas" they're off, roadtripping to North Carolina's Outer Banks in an attempt to recover that special something they lost after commencement. After a couple days in the sun these giddy, promiscuous ex-coeds find they've taken a bad "trip." (There's a reason the exclamation point is affixed next to the film's title.)
The clique has chemistry. Then they meddle with it. Donna (Trieste Kelly Dunn) is the attractive brunette who wishes she'd been a wilder student. Sugar (Maggie Ross) is the geeky follower granted a waiver into the cool circle. The alpha females are Lorelei (Lydia Hyslop) andDee-dee (Melodie Sisk), who vie for the spotlight. Their rented playspot is a pink, beachfront dollhouse. Lots of laughs. Heart-to-hearts about relationships. Life's a blast. A flick of the blender switch, slip into the bikinis and it's on.
Chainsmoking Dee-dee is hung-up on a girl back home who has a boyfriend; she eerily pages through a hardback about a '60s serial killer. Donna bitches about her zero scorecard; she's never made out with a girl or had a one-night stand. Sugar can't handle her liquor and gets denied when she makes a pass at Dee-dee. Meanwhile, Lorelei can't stop fiddling with herself.
The picture is slick and gritty at once. The cutaways in the beginning are fit with ear candy and the animated titles resemble doodles inside a sixth grader's diary. Able helmer and editor Zach Clark (Modern Love is Automatic) uses slow motion at unpredictable times, once when the girls are lunching on fried fish. The punchy dialogue is esoteric but perfectly decipherable. And the actors are far from intimidated to jump in and out of their skivvies.
It's when they drop acid that the flick careens off the main road and plows into a Dead End. Their "why not?" mantra gets tested and washes up with grave results. The fluorescent arsenal fades and out come grieving black bathing suits. Wounded, the girls flirt with homicidal tendencies and munch slushies they call Suicides. Hard to arrive at how these not-so-young girls got here.
Conceptually, Zach Clark's film spoofs reunions. The whole punchbowl chatter with catching-up and retelling old stories is put through the ringer. It's not the job title or the deeds achieved on the CV that earn bragging rights; it's vices that get flaunted. Lorelei's masturbating obsession graduates from basic arithmetic handiwork to home appliances assisted orgasm. (You'll never look at a blender the same way.) Donna considers laying—perhaps slaying—the sleazebag Surfer (Michael Abbott Jr.), and Sugar makes a futile move on her crush, Dee-dee. Each arrives at some realization that fun and games all too often end up with somebody hurt. Vacation! plays at reRun Gastropub in DUMBO and reminds our inner child to tame that massive Id.
Contact: Candy Castle Motion Pictures, Zach Clark (703) 909 6928 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cast: Melodie Sisk, Maggie Ross, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Lydia Hyslop, Michael Abbott Jr.
Director/Screenwriter/Editor: Zach Clark
Producers: Zach Clark, Daryl Pittman, Melodie Sisk
Running time: 95 min.
Release Date: May 13 NY