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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Jawbreaker

Starring: Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart
Director: Darren Stein
Rated: R
RunTime: 87 Minutes
Release Date: February 1999
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Julie Benz, Judy Greer, Chad Christ, Carol Kane, Pam Grier, Marilyn Manson

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

If you remember "Heathers," "Grease," or even "Carrie," you'll recognize elements of all three in this high-school reworked satire. Rebecca Gayheart, Rose McGowan, Charlotte Roldan, and Julie Benz are the four most beautiful and popular girls at Reagan High. And they know it. As the ruling clique, they're bitches. Their disinterested demeanor and cold stares intimidate the weak but their sex appeal is undeniable. The plot revolves around what happens when Rebecca, Rose, and Julie decide to pull a prank on Charlotte's 17th birthday. Sneaking into her room in the morning, they stuff a jawbreaker in her mouth and gag her so she can't spit it out. Then they kidnap her and stuff her into the trunk of their car. But when they decide to set her free to gorge on a pancake breakfast, they discover she's dead, having choked on the jawbreaker. Terrified, they decide to take the body back to her home and make it look like she was strangled during some kinky sex. But there's a witness to the crime. It's Judy Evans Greer, the class nerd who is bribed into silence by a beauty make-over and instant social status among her peers. Then a persistent detective, Pam Grier, arrives to investigate the case. What "Jawbreaker" has in its favor is that it cost only $3 million and today's teen market is hot - and Rose McGowan's real-life boy-friend, Marilyn Manson, has a cameo as her lover. The film's weakness lies in writer-director Darren Stein's shallow, uneven execution. He was obviously going for a Faustian tale of corruption and redemption, even paying homage to "Carrie" in casting P.J. Soles and William Katt as Charlotte's parents, but this black comedy is just too derivative. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Jawbreaker" is a stylish but sophomoric 6 - aimed at high school movie-goers.

Copyright 1999 Susan Granger

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