Urban Cinefile
"I love my life the way it is now, the fact that I CAN go down the street with minimum make-up, and not have somebody stare at me"  -Actress, Charlize Theron
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



At L.A.'s Reagan High, Courtney (Rose McGowan), Julie (Rebecca Gayheart), Marcie (Julie Benz) and Liz (Charlotte Roldan) make up the most powerful clique on campus. To celebrate Liz's 17th birthday, Courtney, Julie and Marcie burst into her bedroom, bind and gag her, bundle her into the boot of the car, then head for the diner where they plan to treat her to a surprise breakfast. On arrival, however, the girls are horrified to find Liz has been asphyxiated by the "jawbreaker" (a hard, golf-ball-sized lolly) which Courtney had used to gag her. They try conceal the accident, but when the school's resident frump stumbles upon the truth, the trio buys her silence by giving her a make-over and inducting her into their coterie. But, as history has shown, when the keepers of a secret begin listening to their conscience, a cover-up is not worth the lies it was built on.

"Statistics indicate that the world's population is currently dominated by 15 to 28 year olds, so it's little wonder that the most bankable genre of the late nineties (Adam Sandler notwithstanding) is the teen movie. Make that high school teen movie. Of course, they've always been around. Back in the eighties, John Hughes had a virtual monopoly on them with well-crafted hits like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink. With few exceptions, the genre falls into three loose categories: the straightforward romantic melodrama (She's All That); the slasher thriller (Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer); and the black comedy, where student rivalries and subversive power plays usually engender only nervous laughter. Michael Lehman's Heathers from 1989 has had this latter category pretty much to itself, but now Jawbreaker has emerged as a formidable companion piece. Suffused with the kind of pounding retro rock soundtrack that is now de rigueur for the genre, Jawbreaker is a witty, anarchic satire-cum-homage which suggests, among other things, that image is everything, and that the power of peer group pressure should never be under-estimated. And while veterans Pam Grier and Carol Kane score points with what are essentially cameos, it's top-billed Rose McGowan who deserves the real plaudits. Her venom-spitting performance as clique leader Courtney is a deftly calculated exercise in villiany every bit as hissable as those of femme fatales past. It all adds up to a devilishly clever romp with an ashamedly crowd-pleasing finale."
Leo Cameron

"Heathers fan clubs should be banned from seeing this film, because if they do, there will be a riot. This pathetic rip-off of that paragon of early nineties cult flicks is a tepid, turgid, disaster of a film that carries no substance with it whatsoever. As is so often the case with these films, the soundtrack is the only thing with any potential. The direction is wildly overdone or breathtakingly pedestrian. Rose McGowan is nothing short of awful, as melodramatic as her boyfriend Marilyn Manson is in his own idiom, but to far lesser effect. The story is not so much an homage to Heathers, more plagiarism, as characters and plot moves are lifted directly from the film. It's hard not to continually refer to Heathers . . . The script is badly overdone and lacks any spark or hint of satire with ludicrous lines delivered with much pouting and hair-tossing. This is more like Showgirls in its execution and the only saving grace on the human resources side of things (I hesitate to call it acting) is Jackie Brown's Pam Grier as Det. Cruz, investigating the death of Liz. The attempt to cover the duplication of Heathers is half-hearted and serves only to highlight the glaring deficiencies of this truly awful film. There are no saviours for Jawbreaker and it will probably only be seen by women if their male partners drag them along so they can watch the women of the film in action."
Peter Anderson

Email this article


Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0




CAST: Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, Julie Benz, Charlotte Roldan, Judy Greer, Marilyn Manson, Pam Grief

DIRECTOR: Darren Stein

PRODUCER: Stacy Kramer, Lisa Torne

SCRIPT: Darren Stein


EDITOR: Troy Takaki

MUSIC: Stephen Endelman


RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes



Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020