Jawbreaker (1999)

Jawbreaker (1999)
Jawbreaker (1999) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Jenna Zine & Larry Crane (Three Beers) –

High school is turned upside down for three popular girls when they accidentally off the fourth in their clique, on her birthday during an ill-advised prank. When an unpopular nobody catches them in the act of covering up their crime, they’re forced to give her a makeover and bring her into the fold. Will transforming into a swan be enough for this ugly duckling; or will she rat out her new “best friends”?

A Toast

Though Jawbreaker was critically slammed at the time, it’s still a gem from the end of the nineties. It’s often compared to both Heathers and Carrie (hey, I’m sensing a theme here) – and with good cause. It’s both creepy and hilarious as the plot takes a romp through the dark side. Rose McGowan chews up the scenery as Courtney Alice Shayne, the caustic leader of the pack. Julie Benz is hilarious as dumb follower Marcie Fox (aka Foxy). The beautiful Rebecca Gayheart is in her element as Julie Freeman, the sweetest of the clique. Of course Judy Greer is stellar as the awkward Fern Mayo, who blossoms into the popular Vylette.

She Said: Yay, it’s Judy Greer!

He Said: Who?

She Said: Oh, my god. We need to have a talk. Ah, the nineties. Here’s Veruca Salt, as if on cue. And that completely overused Imperial Teen song. Good lord, give it a rest.

He Said: I thought this was a movie about the band Jawbreaker.

She Said: Aren’t you in for a surprise!

He Said: I think all the hot girls from my high school live in trailer parks now.

She Said: All the hot girls from my school married bankers. That’s the suburbs for ya.

Clearly someone didn’t get the memo. It’s Rose’s show, people!

He Said: How did they get Jack White to star in this? Seriously, Rose McGowan looks like a ghost. And, in keeping with tradition, all the “teenagers” look like they’re in their twenties.

She Said: You know Rose’s story…

He Said: Wasn’t she…

She Said: The one who used to date Marilyn Manson? Yep. She’s also the one who helped break up Robert Rodriguez’s marriage. There’s one thing you can say about Rose, she plays a good bitch.

He Said: Hell, yeah – she’s terrifying. I’ll bet she bullied Rodriguez into being her boyfriend. And so far it’s a McGowan monologue. She’s been talking the whole damn time.

She Said: An alternative title could’ve been Blackmailed by Beauty.

He Said: Yeah, cuz there’s nothing more important than being popular in high school!

Rebecca Gayheart does not look thrilled to be a part of that sandwich.

Beer Two

Things heat up for Courtney and Foxy, as they race to create a plausible motive for their friend’s untimely demise instead of going to the cops. Julie decides to distance herself from the toxic group, but is blackmailed by Courtney to stay quiet. Meanwhile, Fern has a blast transitioning into the sexy Vylette. But all the girls develop nerves when a pesky detective (Pam Grier as Vera Cruz) starts sniffing around their high school.

He Said: Is this the sequel to Heathers?

She Said: Oh, honey – good call. I’m so proud of you! Where are these kids’ parents, by the way?

He Said: I guess you don’t need your parents to be home when you’re in your twenties!

She Said: It makes it easier to justify those tittie shots! Argh, here comes the most disturbing Marilyn Manson cameo, ever. Wait, I guess that’s redundant. Knowing those two, they probably really acted out the sex scene. (McGowan and Manson were engaged at the time.)

He Said: Sorry I’m not talking much. This movie has me stunned.

She Said: Do you like it?

He Said: Oh, yeah. It’s weird, in a good way. Rose has some pretty interesting outfit choices.

She Said: Almost as trademark as her pale, pale skin. Too bad she missed out on the current vampire craze.

He Said: I wish more women wore shirts with the word “Bitch” on them. Things would be much easier to figure out.

She Said: That’s my husband, setting back the women’s movement 50 years!

He Said: Wait, why is Denise Richards mad at Jack White? And what’s Ethan Hawke doing in this?

She Said: Man, I’ll have what you’re having!

That’s my girl, breaking down the truth!

Beer Three

Julie races to find evidence to implicate Courtney in their friend’s murder – in between going out on dates with sensitive drama nerd, Zack. Fern finds out that being popular isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Meanwhile nothing fazes Courtney – she gets it on with her jock boyfriend and finds the time to pick up Marilyn Manson at a bar. And that’s all before getting gussied up for the prom!

She Said: Oh, my god – it’s The Donnas! I wonder what happened to those girls.

He Said: They got too old.

She Said: Yes, I’m sure that’s what happened. Feminism is not your friend tonight, is it?

He Said: When proms go bad. Where’s Carrie? Let’s dump some blood on her!

She Said: Speaking of Carrie… did you know they’re doing a remake of that?

He Said: Because that’s necessary.

She Said: Sometimes I miss tighter running times. As much as I like getting my money’s worth, I appreciate a concise plot. This is perfect, at an hour and a half.

He Said: Yeah, not every movie needs to be two-plus hours. Though I could use another half hour of this film. There really weren’t enough boob shoots.

She Said: Another time, honey. Maybe we’ll get lucky next Pillow Talk…

My detention did not look like this.


Jawbreaker doesn’t have the bite of Heathers, but it’s still a black comedy worth visiting for its gorgeous and engaging cast.


Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Courtney delivers a bitchy monologue.

Take a Drink: every time there’s a scene with, or an image of, the dead friend, Elizabeth Purr.

Take a Shot: when you spot Marilyn Manson.

Take a Drink: every time Julie and Zack go on a date to the drive-in.

Take a Shot: for The Donnas!

Take a Drink: when Courtney finally gets her comeuppance.

About Jenna Zine

Jenna Zine is a writer, unashamed Bachelor franchise recapper & live-tweeter (@JennaZine1), drummer, and occasional standup comic. She's probably somewhere complaining about her bangs. Find more at www.jennazine.com

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