Megan’s…I mean Jennifer’s Body is Juno scribe Diablo Cody’s follow-up to her witty, intelligent comedy-drama about teen pregnancy.
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Written by: Diablo Cody
Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody
Released: 2009 / Genre: Horror / Country: USA / IMDB
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Discover more: Read my review of Jennifer’s Body writer Diablo Cody’s far better Juno
Will Megan Fox ever make a film where, at some point, usually her introduction, the camera does not tilt up and down her body. Of course, for a film aptly named Jennifer’s Body, or as the case is here, Megan’s Body, the voyeuristic perversion of the camera lens is possibly merited. I’m sure the teenage boy target market would agree. But I can only think everyone else is getting a little tired of seeing sex symbol Fox parading up and down film sets with sultry eyes and pouting lips. I don’t think I’d mind so much if the suggestive nature of her sexual brand passed its PG-13 underwear rule. She’s such a tease. But then again that might make her more San Fernando Valley (San Pornando Valley as it is known by those that live there) than Beverly Hills.
What intrigued me most before seeing Jennifer’s Body (not, I might add, how much fun you could have with the title in a review) was that it was written by Juno scribe Diablo Cody. However, in hindsight, Juno is looking more and more like a one-hit wonder for the Illinois-born writer. With Jennifer’s Body and Burlesque added to the C.V., she hasn’t much to shout about since her witty, intelligent screenplay about teenager pregnancy. The teen horror film she gives us here, that also stars Amanda Seyfried, is a cross between American Pie without the jokes and Fright Night without the jokes, the scares or the colourful characters. That doesn’t leave us with much.
At a high school in the small town of Devil’s Kettle we meet two best friends – Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and Jennifer (Megan Fox). What you need to know about these two can be summed up as the following: Needy wears glasses, Jennifer wears make-up and a short skirt. They decide to go to the local bar to see an up-and-coming band named Low Shoulder. Jennifer tries to seduce the lead singer Nikolai (Adam Brody) but Needy intervenes, lying to him that she is a virgin and therefore won’t sleep with him. But this interests Nikolai and the rest of the band as it becomes apparent they are looking for a virginal teen for some reason or other.
When a fire breaks out, Needy and Jennifer have to make a hasty getaway. Outside the burning building it becomes apparent many people are trapped inside but the band, and its lead singer Nikolai appear to have made it out with little trouble. Nikolai invites Jennifer into his truck and she obliges against Needy’s better wishes. Needy makes it home only to find a battered and bruised Jennifer who proceeds to devour a roasted chicken from the fridge. But she can’t digest it and throws up Exorcist-style all over her friend’s kitchen floor. She won’t tell her what happened and eventually leaves. Next day at school, Jennifer appears completely fine. However, away from Needy’s eyes, she takes the school’s football captain into the woods and, her face transforming into that of a demon, proceeds to tear him apart limb from limb. How long will it be until Needy discovers Jennifer’s secret?
It is difficult discussing the plot of Jennifer’s Body as it doesn’t really have one. It begins in the present and then through flashback we are told the central part of the story. Its key problem is that its antagonist is far too ambiguous. Jennifer just goes around killing people for no reason. Needy is oblivious even though she knows something must have happened, and the most important factor is ignored until an after-thought ending tacked onto the credit sequence. The mysterious band (why they wanted a virgin, and what they did to Jennifer when they took her) is where the interest lies and yet they take a backseat. It is made more troublesome by Needy’s complete ignorance to their involvement in Jennifer’s odd behaviour. When the revelations do come I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for both Jennifer and her body.
Jennifer’s Body is neither a good horror film nor an interesting drama about teen adolescence. I wouldn’t even say it achieves its goal of enticing young teenage boys by the promise of a scantily clad Megan Fox. Cody has said she wanted the film to speak about female empowerment and explore the complex relationships between best friends. I can only guess, since the film does neither, there was a significant breakdown of communication between the writer and director. I’d avoid Jennifer’s Body, not because it isn’t mighty fine to look at, but because it’s horribly malnourished at its core.
Review by Daniel Stephens – See all reviews
This review is part of 31 Days of Horror: