Film / Jawbreaker

"This is high school. What is a friend, anyway?"

Jawbreaker is a 1999 teen Black Comedy film directed by Darren Stein, starring Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, Julie Benz, and Judy Greer.

The movie starts with the popular girls of Reagan High fake-kidnapping one of their group, Liz Purr (Charlotte Ayanna), as part of her seventeenth birthday, only to find when they arrive that she has choked to death on the jawbreaker candy that they used to gag her. Alpha Bitch Courtney Shayne (McGowan) then leads the others to create an elaborate cover story that would paint Liz's death as an accident resulting from a kinky sexual encounter and get them off scot-free.

One of the girls, Julie Freeman (Gayheart), struggles to come to terms with what they've done and is summarily shunned by Courtney and her lapdog, Marcie Fox (Benz). On top of this, she is replaced by the geeky Fern Mayo (Greer), who Courtney transforms into the glamourous Vylette in return for the girl's silence. But the attention lavished upon "Vylette" soon goes to Fern's head and she begins to encroach on Courtney's position as the Queen Bee, only to discover exactly why that was a bad idea as she is publicly humiliated. Meanwhile, when Julie is given a box of Liz's possessions, she stumbles upon something that will prove to be Courtney's downfall just as she prepares to accept the title of Prom Queen that Liz's death left her free to claim.

Tropes in this film include:

  • Accidental Murder: Liz's cause of death? Choking on a jawbreaker that her friends (specifically, Courtney) used to gag her while fake-kidnapping her. The duct tape didn't help.
  • Adults Are Useless: So no principals or teachers have a problem with the girls parking directly in front of the school?
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Fern, as Vylette, once when she realizes that she has the power to overshadow Courtney, takes advantage of the attention given to her. That's when Courtney knocks her down a peg.
  • Deadly Prank: The premise of the film. Courtney and the others were going to surprise Liz for her 17th birthday, while kidnapping her, since the prank has gotten popular with others high schoolers... until the "joke" was on them.
  • Death by Sex: Courtney tries to set up Liz's death as such. Either to pin her up as being abused or her not being "so innocent and pure as she was thought to be". The catch? It fooled the police. At first, anyway.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The popsicle scene.
  • Dumb Blonde: Marcie fits this to a T, being very much on The Ditz end of the scale... until the High-School Dance.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Before the climax, Julie discovers that an old record-message Birthday Card recorded Courtney's confession to the murder. With the help of Julie's boyfriend, who was on the Theater club, they set the message to play during Courtney's Prom Queen speech.
  • Erotic Eating: Courtney uses it as part of sex play with her boyfriend, using a popsicle. Just to make him mime on what he wants her to do to him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Marcie isn't going to be dragged into Courtney's nightmare at the end.
  • Goth: Julie befriends the Goths at school after she falls out with the clique.
  • High-School Dance: The final location of the movie, and the site of...
  • Humiliation Conga: Courtney didn't expect how awful her high school prom was going to be... especially when it is revealed that there was proof where she admitted to have killed Liz. "Eat shit," indeed.
  • Idiot Ball: Courtney. When Fern/Vylette pissed her off, why didn't Courtney just find out a way to blame her? The fact that Fern had conveniently disappeared beforehand would have made it easy for Courtney to pawn the murder off on her!
  • In with the In Crowd: Fern and Julie both apply. Marcie's talk with her father implies that this is also what happened to her.
  • Karma Houdini: Marcie doesn't really receive any comeuppance for her hand in things, as everything else is aimed at Courtney. Then again, she did decide, Screw This, I'm Outta Here!
  • The Makeover: Fern's transformation into Vylette, in a rather... surreal sequence.
  • Make Way for the Princess: The entire high school makes way for the breathtaking entrance of the Girl Posse.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Marcie abandons Courtney in the end, instead of being dragged to her Humiliation Conga.
  • Sex Is Evil: Liz was a virgin, and was described and seen as a pure and kind person. Courtney, while being the evil mind behind the entire joke, being manipulative as possible... wasn't that much.
  • Shamed by a Mob: Courtney is shamed by the students towards the end of the film after her involvement in killing Liz is revealed.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: Fern starts to smoke after "becoming" Vylette.
  • Shrinking Violet: Fern is your standard shy and quiet girl from High School that is not as beautiful as the Girl Posse and would be unnoticed by the crowd and the rest of her classmates. As a way to silence her about Liz's death, Courtney convinces her to "transform" into a different person. And, oh, wow, this makes her more confident... and it works pretty well at its best, even with a name such as Vylette.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Fern Mayo was this to Liz Purr. She even calls her "The Cat's Meow"
  • The Sociopath: Does Courtney mourn Liz's death? Just a little. Does she care about incriminating an unknown loser whom she had sex with, just to convince the police that neither she nor her "friends" were related to the case? Nope!
  • Token Good Teammate: Liz among her friends, although Julie slowly makes a Heel–Face Turn throughout the movie.
  • Trunk Shot: When the girls want to surprise Liz in one of the first scenes of the movie.