Review: “American Psycho 2: All American Girl” a.k.a. Rat Poison Ivy

Rat Poison Ivy

Exploitative exercises for the mass majority can be INCREDIBLY fun!

There’s a sickening truth to the direct-to-DVD market: get the rights to a studio title, find a shlub to helm it fucking fast, have it ready for the rental racks before sixteen months pass or the original goes out of style, and SLAP ON A SUFFIX.

Cash-in sequels you find at Blockbuster at 1:30pm on a Sunday after your cousin’s shiva are fascinating. They’re spineless “features” tossed together like a house made of spit, with more curvy young women, more kills, and more of whatever the original had (except the talent, wonder, or charm).

While watching them, you’ll sense the soundtrack you hear is intriguingly borrowed from Felicity season one, or those bits of original score are actually ripped from Wild Things or Wild Things 2 or Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough or Wild Things: Foursome. These are all good things.

Thanks to Lionsgate – horror gays got lucky in 2002!

The original at hand, American Psycho, is an acclaimed comedy that slaps Reese Witherspoon fans across the cheekbones with its meticulously tweezed penis. “Now,” the execs said after its release, “if we can take that funny-horror stuff from this smash hit by two dykes from Manhattan and combine it with that sexy young girl on a college campus shit that TriStar and Miramax have been pimping out since ’96, we’ll make a fortune (on the pedophile market)!”

Jailbait Mila Kunis came running. Dominique Swain was close on her heels. Katie Holmes laughed at them both for even trying.

This sequel is putrid, cheeky and catty. But that doesn’t stop me from channel-surfing it naked every time it plays on Showtime. Every. Time.

Picking up where the original left off– Wait, our bad, sorry: ENTIRELY DISREGARDING the open-ended “was it all or wasn’t it all” conclusion of the original, American Psycho 2: All American Girl (yes) supplants a new scene, digitally edited with slo-mo to painstaking degree, wherein Patrick Bateman performs cunnilingus on a wounded young woman.

So, now: he’s definitely a serial killer, and the first movie wasn’t just a figment of an insane man’s brain. Thank you, American Psycho 2 team: you are complex, articulate geniuses.

A child across the room, a familiar “younger version” of an actress we know and hate because of Max Payne and Book of Eli, is strapped to a chair as she watches Bateman do the nasty with her babysitter (the wounded woman). The child’s gravelly, off-putting, Lawn Guyland-inflicted voiceover narration comes to a vague realization: she won’t stay down.

Voiceover: “Some babysitters take you to the movies, or rollerblading in the park. Mine brought me on a date with a serial killa.”

ACTUAL DIALOGUE

She slips out of her duct tape handcuffs (really tarnishing Bateman’s whole rep at one fell swoop), saunters over to the predator, and kills him with an icepick. We’re supposed to giggle at the Basic Instinct wink, but I choose to pinch a wet squirt instead.

We are meant to believe this child – an eleven-year-old babysitting client – is not only able to outmaster one of movieland’s most notoriously detail-obsessed manipulators, but can also kill him with a simple stab.

OKAY: that’s like Boat Trip killing Titanic.

Before you can whisper Fuck Off, the child grows up to be (dissolve; cut to) Mila fucking Kunis who is now a freshman called “Rachael Newman” in tye-dyed halter tops at a “top-of-the-line criminology college” where William Shatner (WILLIAM SHATNER!) “is a sly professor” and oh my god we’re just supposed to go along with this without hesitation okay here we go this is real. Lionsgate.

Once you get past ninety-nine suspensions of disbelief, if you can, there’s some filthy fun to be had with this American Psycho Poo: All Offensive Turd.

Mila/”Rachael” explains via voiceover (you’ll notice there are only eight shots with actual on-camera dialogue) that she is determined to be Shatner’s next teaching assistant, a position that makes her a shoo-in to go to Quantico. This is bad-movie-lingo for “becoming a police officer.”

So, Mila/”Rachael” wants to be a cop but she’s gotta kill her way to the top and look super slutty doing it! This is either muddled logic or outrageously sad. Either way, it’s beautiful trash.

She must eliminate her three competitors in Cop Theory Class, the top front-runners for the T.A. position, of course also explained in voiceover:

Canadian stud Robin Dunne, who at most played Ryan Reynolds’s ancillary pal in Just Friends and scores a sex scene here, a cute black guy named Keith, who I sadly don’t believe is given a line of dialogue, and finally, this broomstick with alopecia…

Broomstick with alopecia

Meet Lindy Booth, a non-person whose career I’ve absorbed WAY too much of for any sane person. You may (not) recognize her as the girl who dies after blowing Kevin Zegers in Wrong Turn, as the girl who somehow out-lives most of the cast in the remake of Dawn of the Dead, or as a praying mantis in 2005′s AOL-obsessed teen fuckfest Cry_Wolf.

I, however, as a gay idiot, have watched her from afar for, oh, the past decade. Hi, Lindy. I’m Ross. Let’s play. I’ve noticed you’ve been absent in major films for seven years, but I see you’re making your comeback in Kick-Ass 2 as someone named ‘NIGHT BITCH.’ I’m happily stunned by the news.

In American Psycho Poo, Booth plays ‘Cassandra Blair’ (please kill this screenwriter), Mila’s roommate and “hot friend.” She’s also the girl sneaking under Professor Shatner’s desk after class to play with his zipper. We act shocked, if only so Lindy will like us and continue dancing her dance.

Obligatory jogging montage underscored by whiny rock

We tag along with Mila as she actually wears one of those ALL AMERICAN GIRL tees for marketing purposes, goes on dates, gets her rocks off, somehow commits daytime murder in a library, and hams it up when her parents pay a surprise visit and she’s gotta conceal those rotting corpses in her closet! Uh-oh! Basically, she dresses and acts like the meanest girl at a sleepover in Chappaqua.

She’s Charisma Carpenter at the Bar Mitzvah of a nephew she’s never met.

The bodies pile up, and there are zero surprising twists or turns. It is entirely by the numbers. It’s so easy to consume, and god damn it: easy consumption is so fun. Our anti-hero, this barely attractive cranberry, tells us exactly who she’s going to kill, why, and when, never without a punchline.

After stranging one guy to death with a condom, she remarks out loud to no one, “Ribbed. Faw her pleasure.” Adding insult to injury, her voiceover kicks in right after: “Yep. I just killed a guy. But ya gadda look at the positive side!”

The one billion and a half puns stumble over each other’s denim-encased legs. We have one of the most self-satisfied, uncaring sequels ever made, besides Another 9 1/2 Weeks.

This image says it all.

One could say (in a stretch) American Psycho Poo attempts to be a parody of slashers, which may redeem it. I believe that would be letting this ragdoll off the fisherman’s hook too easily, though, especially since it takes plot turns obviously self-serious and VERY, very dumb…

The narrative device of therapy begins: in awkward time-lapses, Kuntis reveals her unstable psyche to a semi-British shrink (he’s semi-British because he’s intelligent, everyone). She does this (#1) to create conflict and (#2) because “she’s losing touch with her own sanity,” and even remarks via voiceover after a kill: “Gawd, I think I need some professional halp!” Alright. Okay.

Psychiatrist becomes Detective. He suspects the dead bodies at that nearby college may be related to his sociopathic, sassy little patient from That ’70s Show. He gets involved and wonders why Anthony Stewart Head steals all the good roles. As Kunis catches onto him, the movie spirals away from harmless, self-aware kiddie camp and into garbled epic sludge.

Not Anthony Stewart Head

What does Kuntis do? She puts on the dress of a dead girl to seduce a man into killing himself or giving her what she wants, whichever happens first. Feminism.

It results in tragedy. I don’t mean emotional tragedy; I’m talking, “oh god that person’s face is tragic.”

After this, there’s STILL FORTY MORE MINUTES of body dumpings, camera winking, bumbling cops, digitally skewed blue-tinted flashback footage (hello, I Know Who Killed Me and A Perfect Getaway), a hokey introspective jogging montage, and an odd unexplained recurring busboy – also semi-British, for comic relief – who works at the one restaurant where several scenes take place in this movie because it’s the ONLY set they could construct within their budget of $2,000 and two pennies all crusty with lint. Lionsgate.

At least, you can’t say nothing happens. It’s life with Mila!

Any movie that uses this phrase needs a rewrite; see: Freddy vs. Jason, Cruel Intentions

In all, it’s simple to say we, the hungry direct-to-DVD savant, walk away with little. This turkey is overstuffed and under-edited, just a notch above the worst Hellraiser you can find in the bin. On the bright side, I like to tell no one that American Psycho Poo has some of the best goods life can offer:

  • An anthropomorphized icicle who hisses her way through Cop Theory Class (Kim Poirer, also of Dawn of the Dead; are she and Lindy Booth in cahoots!??!)…
  • Plenty of sulking Mila Kuntis screencaps, golden for blogging…
  • A sweet, chubby Student Services faculty-lady (whose death scene reminds us, YES, you’re allowed to name your cat Ricky Martin and get away with it), played with fun jiggle by an actress who clearly knew what kind of “movie” she’s in…
  • Enough sweeping B-roll footage of a non-descript American campus to make Scream 2 green with envy, set to the tune of some of the most lovely, annoying, hair-raising ’90s girl-grunge.

If gratuity is your thing (like me), you’ll be a pig in shit.

ADDENDUM: Before this debacle, I knew Kuntis as the girl who has her period on a high school stage alongside Jenna Elfman in Krippendorf’s Tribe, stars in the hulking tumor Santa With Muscles, and attempts to eat Rick Moranis out of a bowl of ranch dip in Honey, I Shrunk Ourselves.

Sex leads to fame, and she’s now graduated to bigger and better things, sort of: namely Timberlake and Franco. I caught up with her at the 2011 SAGs (as a nominee myself for Best Forced Colonoscopy in My Sister’s Clog). On the American Psycho sequel, she said: “I have nevah been maw ashamed of anything in moy loyfe!”

See the movie’s IMDB trivia section as support for this fact. I would’ve continued talking but I had to run because Katey Sagal didn’t like me stealing her haircut. Also, in Get Over It, Kunis played a character named “Basin.” Do we have thoughts on this?

RATING (OUT OF 5):

American Psycho 2: All American Girl is RATED R for grisly violence, poor ADR, and a nightmarishly hideous DVD main menu.

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About Ross

Ross studied film at Emerson while working for indie producers, and he critiques shit from a queer POV here and @GingerBredhaus. He also produced 2015 gay horror slasher comedy YOU'RE KILLING ME and creates immersive theater in NYC.