The 20th-anniversary edition of the oft-re-released Heathers DVD exists for two reasons: to pimp the dreadful new comedy Sex And Death 101, from Heathers screenwriter Daniel Waters and star Winona Ryder, and to make Gen-Xers feel old. Twenty years on, the film still feels bracingly modern: It doesn't represent the birth of foul-mouthed, slangy, mean-spirited snark, but it at least marks a milestone in its evolution. If Ryder's hyper-verbal smartass were a contemporary creation, she'd be a popular blogger. No, actually, she'd be Diablo Cody, and her teen angst would now have an Oscar, an Entertainment Weekly column, and an HBO series to accompany its body count.
The influential black comedy casts Ryder as a reluctant member of an evil clique of pretty, petty popular girls. Christian Slater co-stars as the moody loner who wins Ryder's heart and embarks on a strategic killing spree targeting the school's most loathsome students. Heathers pushes the fatalism inherent in so many teen movies to nihilistic extremes. It's an eminently quotable vision of high school, an adolescent inferno where Slater's efforts to murder the entire student body almost qualify as mercy killings. When it comes to cruelty, Heathers suggests that the bowels of hell have nothing on the typical high school.
Ryder and Waters re-teamed for the barely released Sex And Death 101, a reprehensible softcore romp about a slick womanizer (Simon Baker) who receives a mysterious e-mail listing the names of every woman he's ever slept with, and every woman he'll sleep with in the future. The gimmick suggests the brainy pop metaphysics of Charlie Kaufman, but the execution is pure Good Luck Chuck. Writer-director Waters takes an interesting premise in the least interesting direction by having Baker live out all sorts of juvenile sex fantasies (having a ménage a trois with gorgeous lesbians, deflowering an entire school bus of Catholic co-eds, etc.) when not accidentally having gross-out sex with a fat black woman and a crazy grandma. Baker's quest to fuck his way through the list puts him on a collision course with Ryder, a mysterious figure intent on punishing sexist pigs. Roughly two decades after giving teen outsiders an enduring hero in Heathers' gloomy protagonist, Waters has made a movie for the horny, dim-witted jocks whom Slater famously derides as having nothing to offer the world but "date rape and AIDS jokes."
Key features: The adequate featurette "Return To Westerberg High" is the only addition separating the Heathers "20th Anniversary Edition" from Anchor Bay's last reissue. Sex And Death 101 includes a fawning featurette and a motor-mouthed potential Commentary Track Of The Damned from Waters.