New Line // 1995 // 108 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Rob "Treg" Traegler (Retired) // January 4th, 2000
Passion. Seduction. Betrayal. Lily wanted to be just like Ivy.
Unfortunately, Lily wants to be just like a bad character from an originally bad movie. This sequel to Poison Ivy, which starred Drew Barrymore in the title role, makes the first film look like Oscar material. While entertaining on a TV movie level, this film suffers from an identity crisis -- it doesn't know what it wants to be and crosses the line several times from thriller to sweet romance to psychodrama.
Alyssa Milano stars as Lily; an innocent art student recently arrived to Los Angeles to attend an unnamed art school. It must be the School of Leering Teachers because Lily's not even in the door and her teacher already starts drooling over her. Before that, Lily sets up house in an apartment way out of her price range in the Hollywood Hills along with some other creepy characters: an untalented performance artist (aren't they all?), a lesbian, and a creepy Asian cellist who never says a word-to anyone. Another roommate in the house is the resident stud played by a blond Jonathan Schaech (That Thing You Do! Hey! Where is this movie on DVD now that I think of it? A special edition would be nice, complete with music videos and a Tom Hanks commentary, but I digress). The stud named Gredin (?) manages to piss Lily off while simultaneously getting him to fall for her. Meanwhile the drooling teacher (nicely played by Xander Berkeley of Terminator 2: Judgment Day) waits in the wings for seconds.
Soon Lily finds a diary in her closet that once belonged to Ivy -- a teenage seductress who destroyed a family while playing the dual role of innocent child and all-around slut. This diary is so perfectly placed that the multiple roommates should have found it long before, but then we wouldn't have a bad movie, would we? Gradually, Lily assumes the dual personality mode of Ivy; cutting her hair and seducing the men in her life. Unfortunately, an actress of Milano's caliber has a difficult time with the transition. As a matter of fact, we're supposed to believe she's two different people, when basically it's Milano playing the same character -- it's just that one has sex and the other doesn't. This leads us to the burning question inside every single male reading this review: Is Alyssa Milano nude in this movie? You bet she is. And you can find her at about 45 minutes in, and again at about an hour and four minutes into the movie. Are the scenes explicit? Well, they're not Cinemax quality (and I use that word lightly) but there is a bit of erotica involved. Like most soft-core films, however, when things get interesting, they cut away.
Eventually, the married teacher and the stud become equally enticed by "Ivy" and will ultimately do anything for her which leads to the "are you kidding me?" conclusion. Sadly, part of this conclusion involves the death of a child, one of the most manipulative and unforgivable things a filmmaker could do. I'm sorry, but you don't mix erotica with the death of a child and then five minutes later you've got people in the sack again. You can't play with an audience's head like that (if they're even involved at this point).
This film contains classic moments in which a character says to Lilly, "I don't even know who you are anymore!" Even though those two characters have shared about six minutes of screen time, we're supposed to swallow high drama like that. There's also the obligatory obtrusive soundtrack with Alanis Morrisette/Sheryl Crow-type songs that pop up in the weirdest places.
A nice benefit of this disc is that you immediately get to choose between the Rated or Unrated Widescreen or the Rated or Unrated Full Frame version. Got that? I didn't think so. Director Anne Goursaud makes some interesting directorial choices when displaying transitions and she shows some promise, but this bizarre script should have scared her off. The picture quality is typical New Line cinema-sharp colors, strong black levels and distinct edging. The 5.1 surround soundtrack is decent, but when those awful songs drop in, they're blasting and you immediately need to grab the remote. Is it me or is this becoming a standard with DVD? Center channel dialogue is barely audible, so you turn it up in order to hear it and then Boom! A surround sound car or truck drives by loud enough to be in your living room and you're jolted out of your seat.
Poison Ivy 2: Lily is not completely unwatchable, but I would definitely rent this one before making a purchase based on Alyssa Milano's nude scenes. The hard part would be finding a video store that would even have this title for rent. Most stores are going for the more popular titles as rentals and saving the obscure stuff for purchase only.
New Line Cinema does it's best to make this an intriguing title for consumers. There's even a secondary tag line on the back cover that states, "The Movies You Love. The Features You Want." Maybe Alyssa Milano loves this film, but that's about it. As for features, all they're offering is the rated or unrated version, full frame or widescreen and cast and crew biographies and filmographies. However, New Line, who has been one of the leaders in DVD quality and extras, is forgiven for this title because of their respectable track record.
Review content copyright © 2000 Rob "Treg" Traegler; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Release Year: 1995
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Two Cuts of the Film (Unrated & R-Rated)
* Cast and Crew Bios
* Theatrical Trailer
* Bomis Alyssa Milano Ring