Poison Ivy is one of those much-referenced ‘90s sexy thrillers that I’m guessing less people have seen than used as a punchline. I do not tolerate such hijinks.
Quick Plot: Darlene Connor--er, Sylvia Cooper--is a lonely teenager making minor attempts to revolt against her wealthy, recovering alcoholic dad (Tom Skerritt and later, Tom Skerritt's butt) and beautiful but dying mother (Cheryl Ladd). To her surprise, the socially awkward Sylvia befriends the blond, beautiful, and rebellious new girl on a scholarship named (sorta) Ivy.
They each buy one half of a best friend necklace, help each other with their homework, and team up to win the big science fair competition.
Wait, that must have been the R-rated editions. Let me change the settings on this DVD.
While she begins with the lovable smile of Drew Barrymore, it only takes a month or so for Ivy to draw our her inner Crush-era Alicia Silverstone (pre-chewing up food and spitting it in her baby's mouth, naturally).
Directed by The Rage: Carrie 2's Katt Shea, Poison Ivy is certainly a film of its early '90s time period, most notably in its smoldering saxophone infused score. The film was fairly infamous and went on to spawn three sequels, all (as far as I can tell from quick synopses) with the same basic formula of a mystery hot chick befriending a wallflower and overtaking her life. We've seen it before and I can't imagine living in a world where we won't see it again.
That being said, I was surprised at how much fun I had with Poison Ivy. Barrymore, an actress I've always found to be likable but limited, manages some of her best work with Ivy, conveying a trashy sweetness in early scenes and carefully transitioning to her sexy inner sociopath. Sarah Gilbert was always the best thing on Roseanne (and considering the talents of Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman, that says a lot) so it's no surprise to see her nail a similarly alienated teen.
Also, this film is SLEAZY. I'm talking "Tom Skerritt orally pleasing an underage Drew Barrymore on the bed that this dying wife is sleeping on" sleazy. Maybe I should have saved that bit for the--
I mean, this film has Tom Skerritt orally pleasing an underage Drew Barrymore on the bed that this dying wife is sleeping on. You can't say the film doesn't go for it
It's not necessarily the film's fault that since its debut 22 years ago, Lifetime has produced dozens and dozens of movies with the exact same premise and beats
TMJ almost killed Burt Reynolds
You can’t put 200 people on the sidewalk just cause you don’t like an editorial
When in doubt, never forget the powers of a sexy saxophone score
Poison Ivy is a Long Wait on Netflix, leading me to believe it's out of print (oddly enough, the same goes for Shea's The Rage). While this isn't the kind of movie you need to start eBaying madly, I do certainly recommend a watch if it crosses your screen. Particularly if you’re in the mood for true and utter sleaze.