3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The movie as a whole is poison; but Barrymore is utter perfection...,
This review is from: Poison Ivy (Unrated & R-Rated Versions) (DVD)
In all honesty `Poison Ivy' is a terrible movie. The plot is predictable and campy, the script is poorly written and the mood of the film is manipulated and cheesy. That said; it is campy fun. `Wild Things' proved that camp can be done to perfection, and while this is no `Wild Things' it is certainly no `Showgirls'. What separates `Poison Ivy' from becoming the diluted mess that `Showgirls' was is the acting (although Gina Gershon was fantastic; seriously), which actually saves this film from being nothing more than a poorly conceived skin flick with `Lifetime' movie direction.
Ivy is a seductive teen who befriends Sylvie, an introverted girl whose mother is very sick and whose father is obviously suffering as much as his wife. Ivy moves in with this family and soon begins spinning her web and spreading her vine into the crevices of her new life. This involves seducing Sylvie's father Darryl and trying to take the place of her mother Georgie. As the film spirals to a close it runs off course in a series of far fetched sequences that expose Ivy for the person she is and brings a seemingly justified conclusion. If it weren't for the fact that Barrymore sells Ivy so well I'd be forced to say that this movie really has no value whatsoever.
But I can't honestly say that...
Drew Barrymore is a very fine actress, one that is often underrated and seen as mere eye-candy or Hollywood royalty (because of her family) instead of as a viable screen actress. Her performance here should squash that. I was having a conversation with a friend about the fact that a good actress will rise above a bad script and make it work. Barrymore does that flawlessly here. This script is undeniably bad (and the dialog is even worse) but Barrymore never shows it. She jumps into her role as if it was a role from the heavens and delivers a very strong and very convincing portrait of a very misunderstood girl. The ambiguities she brings to her character help make the film slightly better than it would have been otherwise (and I say `slightly' because even Barrymore can't save the film from absurdity).
The remaining actors all do well also. Sara Gilbert is decent here, but she pales when standing next to Barrymore. She has the disadvantage of being the most normal character in the film so she ends up becoming far less interesting. Ivy, Darryl and even Georgie all have their issues to contend with and thus become the focal point of our attention. Sylvie is merely trying to survive inside their world and thus she becomes rather dull. Tom Skerritt does a fine job shoveling his ridiculous dialog as does Cheryl Ladd, who really has a thankless role but never lets us know her disappointment.
Barrymore is the sole reason to watch this movie though. She gives a great performance that shows her acting talent full throttle. Looking the part and acting the part are two totally different things (as is made very clear when considering Elizabeth Berkley's horrendous performance in `Showgirls' versus Barrymore's stunning portrayal here). So, while I can't say that this is a good movie (because it's not) I have to admit that it has its moments, and it has Barrymore; and on a rainy, lazy afternoon that is more than enough for me.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 13, 2008 9:36:36 PM PDT
R. Kyle says:
I like Drew Barrymore in almost anything, but I can't quite get myself to watch Poison Ivy yet. Maybe...
In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2008 11:02:56 AM PDT
The movie is terrible, but Barrymore is award worthy, seriously...perfect in this role...it comes on TV sometimes...when it does just sit down and watch it. Don't buy it; but see it for free :-)
Posted on May 14, 2008 9:52:46 PM PDT
betty l. dravis says:
Hi, ANDREW, I remember seeing this shocking movie about a "bad" girl, played by a young Drew Barrymore. I agree that she was excellent in this role. Even though the plot was predictable, I still enjoyed it and found many moments when I was sitting on the edge of my seat. My kind of creepiness. I would have given it more than two stars, but when I saw it I was much more impressionable. Your review is honest and entertaining. I would see this again if I ever catch it on TV. Thanks, ANDREW.
In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2008 5:56:43 AM PDT
Thanks Betty. I debated three but I couldn't get past the unintended campiness. You can tell that this movie wanted to be something to be taken seriously, but it ends up being a little too campy. It's far above 'Showgirls' (which was a freaking mess) but it doesn't really deliver anything substantial for me, aside from Barrymore...
Posted on May 15, 2008 1:42:37 PM PDT
Steven Peterson says:
Well done review. You're honest in your portrayal of a bad movie with some compelling acting.
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