Sara (Agnes Bruckner) is a smart law student relying on a scholarship and a bartending gig to get herself through school. Her obvious crush on Eric (Shawn Ashmore) is her biggest downfall, since he’s dating privileged student Brooke (Shanna Collins). When Eric and Brooke grab drinks from Sara at the bar, Brooke sees Sara pilfer a couple bucks from the tip jar (or so it would appear, what exactly she does from grabbing Brooke’s money to opening the cash register is obscurely shown, at best). She tattles to Brooke’s manager, getting her fired, and reports her to her aunt who’s on the college board, getting her scholarship revoked and getting her kicked out of school housing.
Fortunately, aggressive lesbian Alex (Madeline Zima) is there to save poor, unfortunate Sara. After witnessing Brooke’s gross behavior at the bar, Alex took Sara under her wing. Now, with Sara homeless, she offers up her mansion as a place for Sara to crash. After drunkenly seducing naïve, confused Sara, Alex and Sara engage in some Hitchockian pillow talk. “Don’t you just wish murder was legal?” Sara asks. This prompts Alex to suggest that she take out Sara’s nemesis Brooke in exchange for Sara eliminating the nasty woman (Kate Levering) who married her widowed father (John Stockwell).
From there, it’s a seeming paint-by-numbers recreation of Strangers on a Train. Alex descends into familiar levels of psycho (after strangling Brooke) to blackmail Sara into fulfilling her end of the bargain. Writers Mark Distefano and Guinevere Turner lull you into complacence with their obvious plot twists, but then they subvert your expectations by going a few plot twists overboard. The convoluted story becomes even more so, but in a way that bizarrely makes absolute sense.
If you don’t mind the exploitation of lesbianism and bisexuality that populates the film, then Breaking the Girls will provide some delightful surprises. It is almost admirable the way they address lesbian sexuality, even if it comes off as an easy plot device. This film has a lot to offer beneath the surface, although most of it feels untapped.
Along with the trailer are interviews by director Jamie Babbit, producer Kirk D’Amico, and stars Bruckner, Levering, Zima, and Ashmore.
"Breaking the Girls" is on sale November 19, 2013 and is not rated. Drama. Directed by Jamie Babbit. Written by Mark Distefano, Guinevere Turner. Starring Agnes Bruckner, Madeline Zima, Shawn Ashmore.