Well, it sounded like a great idea on paper. Hell, way back when, I even gave the script by “Juno”
superstar Diablo Cody
a big thumbs up, in a rare early review from me. Karyn Kusama
, who helmed the wonderful “Girlfight”
way back in 2000, took the director’s chair. Jason Reitman
produced it, and he’s been on a non-stop WINacoaster lately. Megan Fox
is the titular (so to speak) character, an evil cheerleader who literally eats men; if there ever was a role chosen especially for her range of talents (such as they are) it was that of Jennifer. I mean, I know I enjoy Megan Fox in a cheerleader outfit. If Joe McCarthy was still alive today he'd brand anyone a communist who disagreed, so all-American is it right now to glory in her assets (so to speak). So, what went so wrong?
The story (like you don’t already know, you pack of drooling horndog fanboys) takes place in small townsville USA where nerdy chick “Needy” Lesnicki
) is inexplicably best friends with the high school sex fantasy, Jennifer Check (Megan Fox)
. One night Jen
into going to a local bar to see a up and coming indie band. The evening ends in tragedy as the bar burns to the ground, killing a number of locals and almost taking out the two girls as well. Jen
leaves the scene of the destruction in the band’s van (oh yeah. what could possibly go wrong there?) and is taken out to the woods where they sacrifice her to the devil, in that age-old exchange that musicians traditionally make with Old Nick
. In films like this anyway. All I could think while watching this band make their decision of what to do with a vulnerable and willing Megan Fox
was...well, I don't need to say it. Bad call, band. Bad call. That night, she shows up at Needy
’s house, dripping goo and vomiting nasty stuff up. Not sure whether she dreamed the whole thing or not, Needy
is surprised to see a seemingly normal Jennifer
at school the next day. The lesson for gay indie rock bands with pending Satanic contracts: never believe a high school girl that looks, talks and moves like Megan Fox
when she tells you she’s a virgin...she ain’t. Sure enough, that little lie screwed up their satanic ritual and Jennifer
becomes a succubus, seducing and eating the town’s boys. Only her best friend knows what’s going on and she was too cowed by the living Jennifer
, much less the new demonic one, for her to present much of a threat. Until Jen
starts licking her chops at Needy
Remember how tight and snappy the script for “Juno”
was? It had a lot to do with the actors being able to pull off convincingly being those smart, likable kind of kids. Seyfried
both are passable here but they're not up to delivering these sorts of ironic, sarcastic, slangy lines without them coming off as forced, and SERIOUSLY forced coming across they do indeed. Cody
was trying to say something about the nature of female friendships at that age and how competitive they are, with the two leads being so nasty to each other, but instead it comes off as two completely unlikable people. While that might be more realistic from Cody's experience, it's a chore to watch.
So, it’s not all that funny, although there is a line or two here and there that elicit a chuckle, and it’s certainly not scary even in the slightest, despite some really nice practical FX. The early marketing and leaked photos of this seemed to issue an unquestionable assertion that Fox
would get naked, surely the only reason a lot of teenage boys snuck in to see it, and yet...no. If I wanted to be teased unmercifully like this I'd go back in time and re-enroll in High School. Even an extreme close-up shot of Needy
french kissing, in that teenage experimentation sort of way, only feels kind of awkward. If you can't make that work, you've really got to reconsider your script. Seriously, Spill
ladies, you should post photos here of you and your girlfriends making out to PROVE that it can be sexier than this. Really. Go ahead. I’ll wait...
I have a feeling that the sexualized marketing drove away the female audience that really might have been the only folks who would have found something to really like here but not as much as they could have. Diablo Cody
has made clear in interviews that it was directed at them but she should have told the guys who cut the trailers. In light of her goals, the casting of Fox
seemed like a bad idea, for certainly we're not watching this thing for her acting talents. I don't mean to keep harping on this, but let's be realistic here. For me, it was a mediocre and largely forgettable exercise in how not to write things for teenagers to say.
Such a luke-warm movie certainly is packed to the gills with extras though. The new un-rated Blu-Ray (that doesn't add the one thing that might have been worth re-watching the film for) is packed with nice extras. There’s the usual deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a commentary by the director and writer but also you get a great extended interview with Diablo Cody
about her career, lots of video diaries, and a revealing making-of on the big indoor swimming pool F/X scene. If you’re in the crowd that dug the film, this is something you’re gonna want to pick up for sure, but if you’re like me, there’s still not enough here to warrant more than a RENT
. It's not unwatchable or anything and there's enough here to make it worth a watch but if you're excited about the female empowerment horror film thing, go buy “Ginger Snaps”
instead for a solid horror flick about teenage girls struggling with puberty. Hmm. That made me feel a bit icky even just typing it.
Click Here to Buy Jennifer's Body (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]