JAWBREAKER (1999)

Written & Directed By: Darren Stein 
Cinematography By: Amy Vincent 
Editor: Troy Takaki 

Cast: Rose McGowan, Julie Benz, Rebecca Gayheart, Charlotte Ayana, Judy Greer, Pam Grier, Carol Kane, Tatyana Ali, Chad Christ, Jeff Conaway, William Katt, P.J. Soles, Marilyn Manson 


In what was meant as a harmless birthday prank, three of Reagan High School’s most popular girls, Julie, Foxy, and Courtney pretend to kidnap their friend, the latter shoving a jawbreaker into the victim’s mouth to keep her from screaming. Their plan goes awry when the girl accidently swallows the jawbreaker, choking to death. The cool and calculating Courtney tries to cover the crime but is found out by school geek Fern Mayo. In return for her silence, Courtney transforms the gawky Fern into the stylishly beautiful Vylette, leaving the conscience-stricken Julie out in the cold, threatening to set her up for the girl’s murder if she breaks her silence. 

This film was compared to HEATHERS by some critics. So I had to check this film out. Luckily I was working at a movie theater that was playing this movie so I got to see it for free. If I had paid for it. I believe my review would be more vicious. 

The film is very colorful and has a dull witty edge the jokes sometimes hit their targets, but often misfire. Even though the film is cast with memorable stars of teenage set sitcoms. One of the problems with the film is the cast playing teenagers look too old. I’m not talking 90210 old. I’m talking having the first kid setting up house in the suburbs old. 

Writer/director Darren Stein intentionally cast older actresses as the high school leads as an homage to films like GREASE and CARRIE, which seemed to use actresses who were clearly in their mid-twenties. 

There are a few things to like in this movie Jeff Conway is hilarious intentionally in his one scene. The scene where Rebecca Gayheart is the only one moving in the hallway while everyone else is In freeze frame is inspired and beautiful. The lunch room social status table scene is hilarious 

Rose McGowan is on point and great in her role. The only problem, she’s too poised and self assured in the role. She is beautiful, But is just too old. I can see why she took the role. It’s a star-maker, but then there are the problems with the movie. Which out number the good thing most of the casting a lot of good actors are miscast or wasted in their roles. There are Celebrity cameos here for no reason other then former or noted actors just trying to get work, which are beneath them. 

This is a very nasty film in spirit and material. It’s a dark comedy that is supposed to contain some satire, But feels mean spirited for no reason while being campy. The sets and makeup are at times nauseating. 

I would have to say the main reason for watching this film is Rose McGowan and her performance. So if you are a fan of her this is a definite must see. Even the usually dependable Judy Greer is wasted in one of her first leading roles plus I hated her 80’s Alice hairdo. 

During the entire film, a circular theme is visible, to call back to the jawbreaker. From the girls earrings (they wear hoops throughout the majority of the film), to light fixtures, to patterns, and wall fixtures. 

The problem here is that Rose McGowan excels in this role, but the movie or at least the script can’t keep up to her talent. No one else is written as well or as vividly as she is. This has also been the problem with McGowan’s career there has hardly been roles tailor made for her and when there were she was usually the best thing or the most noteworthy thing in the movie, Because everything else was disappointing about the films. She just keeps seeming to miss those roles that would catapult her full speed ahead or doesn’t seem to take the momentum offered when she does. Almost like a older Christina Ricci with less chances. 

Marilyn Manson was given his cameo part because he was engaged to Rose McGowan at the time the movie was made. 

Wait For Cable 

GRADE: C-

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s