This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
"Poison Ivy" resembles another recent film, "Folks!," in one crucial aspect: Both movies are about evil characters, unsuccessfully played by likable actors. "Folks!" was a "comedy" that had Tom Selleck as a man trying to murder his parents for the insurance money, and "Poison Ivy" stars Drew Barrymore as a devious Lolita who moves into a family's life and seems ready to kill the mother, marry the father, and replace the daughter. This would seem more plausible if Barrymore seemed even slightly capable of doing it.
She does not. She seems like a pleasant, basically cheerful young woman who has put on a lot of makeup and some sexy dresses to try out for the part, after the class sex fiend turned down the role.
There is scarcely a moment in the movie when the story works as fiction; I was always aware of the casting, of the mood-setting devices, of the stylistic borrowings from Hitchcock.
The movie stars Barrymore as Ivy, a poor girl attending a rich kids' school on a scholarship. Sara Gilbert is Cooper, a classmate who likes to lurk around the edges of social groups, feeding her resentments. One day she phones in a bomb threat to the TV station where her dad (Tom Skerritt) is the boss; that catches Ivy's attention, and the two girls become fast friends. Before Cooper or anyone else quite knows how it has happened, Ivy has actually moved into the family's home.