|Poison Ivy 2: Lily|
|Written by Abbie Bernstein|
|Tuesday, 02 November 1999|
‘Poison Ivy II: Lily’ doesn’t exactly disprove the theory that nobody sets out to make a bad movie, but it at least calls the notion into question. Watching this thing, you can’t help wondering what director Anne Goursaud, writer Chloe King and the producers thought they were doing.
For starters, they certainly are not creating a story that has any bearing on the entirely decent little thriller that preceded it. ‘Poison Ivy’ and ‘Poison Ivy II: Lily’ are linked by title, but the connection ends there. College art student Lily (Alyssa Milano) does find a diary that once belonged to someone named Ivy, but its contents don’t suggest that they were penned by Drew Barrymore’s manipulative character in the first film. Lily starts dressing exotically and embarks on affairs with a fellow student (Johnathon Schaech) and her married professor (Xander Berkeley). The two guys are jealous of one another and, in the last 20 minutes of the 108-minute feature (the unrated version – the R-rated cut is two minutes shorter), the professor flips out. That’s it.
There is no level on which ‘Lily’ works. Unlike the original ‘Poison Ivy,’ with its distinctive characters and psychologically observant, quirkily ominous plot, ‘Lily’ is as banal as can be. It resembles the set-up for a slasher film that never gets around to the scares. What’s even more surprising, since the selling point of ‘Lily’ is its supposed eroticism, is that the film fails even as soft-core porn. Chapter 1 starts with a sex scene between Berkeley’s philandering teacher and a shapely bit player – it’s competent, but nothing to write home (or rent a DVD) over. Chapter 10 features a sexual encounter between the Milano and Schaech characters; Chapter 16 has Lily getting it on with the professor; Chapter 18 has a sexual assault (which, in the specific circumstances, serves to underscore the implausibility and idiocy of the characters involved). There are one or two more sequences with some form of nudity and/or sexual contact, but in a film of ‘Lily’s’ length, this averages out to more cardboard filler than is reported to occupy the average hot dog.
Technical credits are certainly decent and Goursaud has an eye for pretty colors. The soundtrack is full of the kind of pop ballads that haunted ‘70s low-budget exploitation films without ever earning radio airplay. Milano is pretty, shapely and displays traces of a sweet personality. Berkeley succeeds in creating a characterization, suggesting some emotional life in his character, and Schaech acquits himself well in the thankless role of the boyfriend.
‘Poison Ivy II: Lily’ is not the worst movie ever made – there’s a lot of technical proficiency here – but it’s not even dreadful enough to be entertaining in a perverse way. Unless one is a confirmed fan of one or more of the performers, there is absolutely no reason to watch this. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it done better elsewhere.