Like the recent teen flick mishap "She'sAll That," "Jawbreaker" is anotherone of those high school movies that presumes a nerd's wildest dream isbe to become shallow and popular, and that said nerd would do just aboutanything -- even become an accessory to murder -- to see that dream cometrue.
The premise here is that when a SoCal teen wallflower (JudyEvans Greer) stumbles on the campus vanity princess squad covering up theiraccidental murder of another popular girl, the cold-blooded triad buy hersilence with a make-over and an introduction into their clique.
Marketed as satire, "Jawbreaker" steps way overthe line when the lipstick doll leader of the pack (Rose McGowan, "Phantoms")makes the virginal girl's death look like a rape and murder. She framesstranger (shock rocker and McGowan squeeze Marilyn Manson) by having sexwith him in the victim's bed before her parents come home to discover theirlifeless daughter.
In addition to having a questionable sense of humor, writer-directorDarren Stein ignores even the most elementary, common knowledge preceptsof forensic medicine (a simple autopsy would quickly unravel this frameup) in favor of trying to turn clique lieutenant Rebecca Gayheart ("UrbanLegend") into a meek heroine by writing for her a change of heartand wardrobe (the costume designer should have been the murder victim),which leads to the most preposterous of prom-embarrassment finales, a shameless,role-reversal rip-off of "Carrie." (The movie's one saving grace:The smokin' hot Marin County grrrl group The Donnas plays the prom band.)
Daring to posturing itself as a neo-"Heathers,"this movie aims much, much lower and comes off looking like Stein wrotethe script after eating something that didn't agree with him and watchinga triple feature of "Clueless," "Seven,"and "Caged Heat."
Too dark to be funny and plagued by abyss-sized holes inthe plot, slavish dialogue ("Some of the sweetest candies are likedeath inside.") and sketch-quality acting, "Jawbreaker"is a 15 minute idea stretched into a feature film, and the stretch markscan't be hidden as the film often sits still for 20 minutes at a time.
In a perfect world, TriStar studio execs would lose theirjobs over this calamity. In the real world, it will probably be a hugehit (like "She's All That" was), and serve as further evidencethat far too many people are sheep and will flock to anything advertisedon MTV.
Run time: 87 mins
In Theaters: Friday 19th February 1999
Box Office Worldwide: $3.1M
Distributed by: Columbia TriStar
Production compaines: TriStar Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes: 7%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 53
IMDB: 5.3 / 10
Director: Darren Stein
Starring: Rose McGowan as Courtney, Julie Benz as Marcie Fox, Rebecca Gayheart as Julie Freeman, Carol Kane as Ms. Sherwood, Pam Grier as Detective Vera Cruz, Judy Greer as Fern, Chad Christ as Zack, Ethan Erickson as Dane Sanders, Tatyana Ali as Brenda, Charlotte Ayanna as Liz, Jeff Conaway as Marcie's Father, William Katt as Mr. Purr, P.J. Soles as Mrs. Purr, Marilyn Manson as The Stranger
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