“Dark,” as we know, is the indie flavor of the month; it’s also, as done by crass, witless (and, almost invariably, young white male) writer-directors, a very fucking bad thing. Case in point: Jawbreaker, in which three fabulously popular high school vixens kidnap a friend as a birthday prank, and stuff the titular candy down her throat. Not surprisingly, she dies, leaving the evil one (Rose McGowan), the brainless one (Julie Benz), and the remorseful one (Rebecca Gayheart) to deal with it in very different ways. They’re soon found out by class nerd Fern (Judy Evans Greer); can a Faustian makeover be in the cards? There are blatant references to Heathers and Carrie, among other teen staples, because Jawbreaker is, you see, a “spoof” or “homage.” Only it isn’t— director Darren Stein’s script is slack and tin-eared, too feeble to pass for satire, and inadequate even by lazy-pastiche standards. Only the soundtrack (the Donnas, Imperial Teen) and the irrepressible McGowan make it fractionally more bearable.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 16, 1999