Tuesday, January 15, 2013

'90s Trash: Poison Ivy

What was the deal with Teenage Temptresses in the '90s?  Seriously, look at the films that came out in this period.  Beyond the three Poison Ivy films (the fourth was made in 2008, so it doesn't count), there was the Remake of Lolita, The Crush, Cruel Intentions and many others that escape me at the moment.  Did everyone just get the same Memo or something?  That leads us into today's film: Poison Ivy.  It's the tale of a Teenage Seductress who worms her way into a family's life and causes all sorts of chaos.  It's a pretty stock story, but...actually, there's no 'but.'  It's just a pretty stock story.  In fact, I'll be stock as well and simply ask for you to read on...
Drew Barrymore is Ivy, a Teenage seductress who is, wait for it, new in town.  She doesn't fit in either, but...
...she finds a kindred soul in Sylvie (Sarah Gilbert).  She's a rich girl who wants to rebel against her parents, since they give her things, but no love.  It's all very...stock.
Ivy makes a play for Sylvie's dad (Tom Skerritt).  This causes all sorts of subtle issues, especially since...
Sylvie's mom (Cheryll Ladd) has been sick for a long time and mostly uses it to keep attention on her.

If you didn't know Ladd was on Charlie's Angels, a show that would become a film Produced by Barrymore.  This gets even more ironic later.
The film teases a Lesbian sub-plot between Barrymore and Gilbert, but there's really no pay-off.  Thanks for nothing, '90s!

Oh and Gilbert has come out as a Lesbian in real-life since the film was made.  Irony!
Things go really bad in the family.  For one, Skerritt is fired from his job giving advice to the town.  Later, Ivy sees Ladd considering suicide and decides to help her...fall out the window to her death.
Later still, she freaks out while driving with Sylvie and causes a crash.  This creates a silly plot point in which they all believe that Sylvie was driving...even though her head smashed through the passenger side window.

If Ivy wasn't driving, then how did this happen?  If Ivy wasn't there, then who hit the window?  ANSWER ME!!!!
All of this leads up to the big climax where Sylvie escapes the Hospital- via the corridor from Parts: The Clonus Horror- and comes home to find Ivy having sex with Skeritt.  This leads to a dramatic chase scene set in, you guessed it, the rain.

Insert Cowboy Bebop joke here.
In a bit of forced irony, Sylvie and Ivy have a confrontation by the same open window where her mother fell through and died.  Put a gate up or something!

Naturally, she helps Ivy meet her own death in the exact same fashion.  How forced and ironic.  The End.
It's not as interesting as they thought.  To be fair, I'm not in the film's age demographic anymore.  That said, movies should be accessible and at least moderately-interesting to everyone.  It's why Kid's Films have subtle (but dirty) jokes and why Adult-Themed Films have broad comedy moments.  This movie has an interesting premise (to an extent), but there's very little done with it.  This is apparently based on a pseudo real-life event that happened to the Producer.  I met X-Pac at work once- does that deserve a movie too?  The story, acting and overall production values are decent, but nothing more.  This is a film concept that's kind of interesting, but made into a film that's not really.  The one positive point is that the film is not amazingly-dated in the fashion department- that's the 2nd film.  The movie doesn't even really have all that much Nudity or Sex- the film's main selling point.  So yeah, that's basically it.  The funniest part is actually in the beginning as Sara Gilbert delivers a ton of ironic dialogue like this...
Next up, another dose of Poison Ivy.  If you want to see why Alyssa Milano hates her previous films, check it out.  Stay tuned...


  1. I remember this movie...or at least parts of it. I was, say, 13 when this came out, and became quickly infatuated with Drew Barrymore in this movie. I thought she was the hottest thing that I had ever seen. Until the next year when The Crush came out, and I became infatuated with Alicia Silverstone (I can't explain to you how cheated I felt when I discovered that the comely posterior they showed when she dropped trou was actually a body double). I thought she was the hottest thing I had ever seen. Until 1996 rolled around, and Alyssa Milano showed up in Poison Ivy 2. I even had THIS poster hanging up on my bedroom wall for a good two or three years. Then I became infatuated with her. I thought she was the hottest thing I had ever seen.


    Ah, hormones.

  2. I like this movie when it first came out - because I was 12 and "Hey I might see a boob!"

    You're watching the sequels too? Ouch. Good luck with those.

  3. Guess who loved that movie as a teenager? ;)