Jennifer’s Body is the sophomore feature film from Oscar winning screenwriter Diablo Cody. It takes us into the world of teenage angst driven by sex, obsession, and mostly regret. The film is advertised as a dark comedy, that oozes sex appeal thanks to it’s leading lady, Transformers star Megan Fox. Jennifer’s Body capitalizes on old school horror thematics from the seventies and eighties to add a campy element to this contemporary tale.
- Director: Karyn Kusama
- Screenwriter: Diablo Cody (read her Comic-Con interview)
- Actors: Megan Fox, (read her Comic-Con interview) Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody Johnny Simmons, Amy Sedaris, Chris Pratt, and J.K. Simmons.
Like most horror movies, the film takes place in a sleepy town conveniently called Devil’s Kettle. This is where we meet the best friend duo of Jennifer and Needy. Jennifer is the object of desire for every guy at her high school and beyond, while Needy is the exact opposite. She’s nerdy, never curses, and has the staple that every dorky sidekick must acquire, an ugly pair of eye glasses. On a fateful evening Jennifer drags Needy to a rock show at a local bar to see an indie band, which is led by singer Nikolai Wolf (Brody). From the moment Jennifer and Nikolai meet, events are set into motion that take the teenager from a typical high school bitch, to a literal maneater. As the tagline of the film states Jennifer becomes evil, not just high school evil.
- Amanda Seyfried: The actresses performance as Anita “Needy” Lesnicki is one of the only semi-decent things this film has to offer. Her character is the dumpy best friend who becomes the saving grace of the town’s male population. Even though the material she had wasn’t that great, Seyfried was entertaining and in the end you felt for her.
- The Location: Giving credit to where credit is due. They did an amazing job creating the town of Devil’s Kettle. It reminds you of the backdrops of Carrie and A Nightmare on Elm Street mixed with a bit of Friday Night Lights. You really get the feeling that everybody knows each other, and you believe the deaths that take place could effect each citizen on a personal level.
- The Dialogue: If you’re a fan of Juno, you’re familiar with Diablo Cody’s quirky since of humor. Take the comedic quips from that film and multiply them tenfold. The conversations between the characters were over the top and unbelievable. Everything is set up like a joke, so it’s hard to follow the story and understand what the film is really trying to say. The entire script is a string of punchlines run together one after another, which might have been nice if they were actually funny.
- The Pace: When the script is bad, watching any film can turn into two hours of torture. In this film there was a basic set up that was reused about every 20 minutes. It involved Jennifer seducing a guy, making out with him, eating him and her needing to “refuel” again. It became very redundant and seemed like a ploy to put Megan Fox in more gratuitous sexual situations.
- J.K. Simmons: I love J.K. Simmons, but his wonderful talent was lost on this film. He portrayed a school teacher, whose main characteristic was that he had a hook for a hand. His whole point of being there was an obvious nod to Juno, but he was a walking joke, and a bad one at that. He could have brought so much more to this movie, but he was downplayed by a curly wig and a gimmick.
I do not recommend this film. You can throw every expectation you have about Jennifer’s Body out the window, because it does not deliver. In the end, it can be seen as a vague attempt to pay homage to female driven horror films of the past, but whether or not it follows through on that attempt is open to interpretation.
Jennifer’s Body hits theaters on September 18, 2009.