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Ivy ('Drew Barrymore'), a sexy teen who lives with her aunt, moves in with a reclusive teen (Gilbert) and slowly works her way into the lives of her adopted family. The mother (Ladd) is sickly and can't sexually satisfy her husband (Skerritt) any more, and to the daughter's horror, Ivy begins seducing her father. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Nabokov's Lolita used the affections of a fawning, elderly man (her stepfather) for her own purposes--which never amounted to much more than sex and cash. It only figures that today's Lolita would be dressed to kill, literally. As Drew Barrymore plays her here, she's a sexy homicidal figure with maternal delusions. "Poison Ivy" begins rather endearingly, with high school outcast Sara Gilbert (looking like the modern equivalent of a teen beatnik) befriended by a striking blonde student with lots o' leg and a fake tattoo. This wanton woman-child has no name; Gilbert calls her "Ivy" and Barrymore likes that ("It gives me the opportunity to start over," she says). The tone of the picture shifts however before the midway point, with Ivy infiltrating Gilbert's dysfunctional household and seducing dad Tom Skerritt (doing terrific work). Gilbert's narration--and the surreal jumble which becomes the hectic climax--is rather off-putting, but there's a great deal of worth in Barrymore's solid performance. The film is stylish on a low-budget and is actually steamier than "Nine 1/2 Weeks". Yet, it's really two different pictures struggling within the context of one. A stronger screenplay might've brought the two halves together, although, as the director, Katt Shea Ruben manages to come up with a commendable amount of incidents both amusing and titillating. ** from ****
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