The "Fab 4" of Ronald Reagan High are four stuck-up girls, played by
Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, Julie Benz and Charlotte Roldan, who
overdress like 4 Posh Spice wannabes. Their daily ritual is to parade
up and down the school halls like royalty, and their constant reflex
action is to grab their compacts so they can check their make-up and
powder their cheeks. Under no circumstances will they ever let
themselves be seen eating in public.
In writer and director Darren Stein's JAWBREAKER, it isn't as funny as
it sounds. In fact, it isn't funny at all. Stein has taken the black
comedy of a teen movie like HEATHERS and stripped it of any
intelligence, wit or charm. His actresses toss off their lines so fast
that they don't have time to add any emotion. And all of his female
characters have considerably more lipstick than brains.
The setup for the movie has one of the Fab 4, Liz, who is referred to as
"the Princess Di of Reagan High," be killed when a prank by the other 3
goes wrong. The Princess Di reference is in bad taste, as is much of
the movie. Granted, bad taste can sometimes be funny, but the mere
presence of bad taste doesn't guarantee it.
Liz's girlfriends stick a jawbreaker that is literally larger than a
golf ball in her mouth, tape her mouth shut, and stick her bound body in
the trunk of a car. When they open the trunk later, Liz is dead. They
eventually put her blue and bruised body into a sexual position and make
it look like Liz was the victim of a brutal rape. These realistic and
disgusting scenes of a dead, seminude teen have a pornographic feeling
that is hard to forget and will likely turn the stomach of many a
The film's dialog not only isn't funny, it's trite. One nerdy young
girl introduces herself with "My name is Fern Mayo, as in hold the
mayo." When Fern discovers what has happened, the Fab 3 make her an
offer she can't refuse -- make-up! They cake it on her and welcome her
to the clan.
The parents in the movie brag about learning parenting skills from
watching Oprah. The teachers fare no better, especially in the
ridiculous lines they are given. "Miss Shayne, please cover your
bosom," one young teacher, who has been made up to look old and ugly,
says without any conviction. "This is a learning institution, not a
Besides the obvious question of why this movie was ever made, there is
one other question that I'd like to ask the director. Why do you have a
phone number start with 555 if you going to cover the rest of the number
In a cameo, Pam Grier plays Detective Vera Cruz, who investigates Liz's
murder. As she interrogates the other people, she stares at them like
they are all idiots, proving that she is the only one that gets it. I
am sure that if the hard nosed Detective Cruz were to see this movie,
she'd walk out after about 5 minutes, and you'd be well advised to do
the same if you should happen to find yourself in a theater showing it.
JAWBREAKER runs 1:27. It is rated R for violence, gore, profanity and
sex. I would advise everyone to avoid it, but if teenagers go they
should be older and mature.
Copyright © 1999 Steve Rhodes