Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Let’s get this out of the way: Megan Fox is hot. She’s a hot, shitty actress who will continue to be hot and shitty in a ton of shitty movies that a ton of idiots will buy tickets for in vain hopes of seeing her naked. If you were considering renting 2009’s Jennifer’s Body for similar reasons, let me save you some time: there’s plenty of sideboob and cleavage, but that’s about all of Jennifer’s body you’re gonna get.

For those still reading, the movie itself has its moments but for the most part it’s a lackluster affair and a waste of a tremendous opportunity to inject some fresh and potent wit into the horror genre. It’s more or less stylish, sure, and it has a hip, catchy soundtrack. But it’s conspicuously lacking any of the sophistication of writer Diablo Cody’s last screenplay, Juno, and it sorely misses a talent like Jason Reitman at the helm. Yeah, while Reitman was off enjoying his second Oscar nomination, Jennifer’s Body was left in the capable hands of Karyn Kusama. Kusama had previously directed only the relatively competent Girlfight and Æon Flux, meaning that exactly half of her directing credits were mind-numbing science fiction afterbirth. I’d be curious to see the résumés of the candidates they didn’t hire.

The story: Things kick off with narration from a women’s prison by the charming Amanda Seyfried as Anita “Needy” Lesnicky. She’s become a bit of a hellraiser during her time inside but things, she tells us, were not always thus. Cut to a few months beforehand: bespectacled and bookish Needy and her best friend, the sultry Jennifer, make an unlikely pair, given their respective positions in the social hierarchy of their small town high school.

A little hot tongue action.

The odd couple heads to a local bar to catch a band from out of town, but the group’s set literally lights the place on fire so they have to vamoose. We know something weird is afoot because the seductive lead singer keeps yammering with his drummer about whether Jennifer is a virgin or not. No one ever goes seeking out a virgin for a benign reason and, sure enough, Jennifer is led into the back of a sketchy van after they escape the blaze. The next time we see her, she’s covered in blood and all sorts of scary. Seems she came back from her groupie experience just a little different and those high school boys had better watch out.

STDs are the least of your worries.

Biggest letdown: A lot of the blame for Jennifer’s Body and its shrug-inducing ambivalence falls on the director, who has a great supporting cast to work with but gets very little out of them. To be fair, Miss Megan doesn’t do her any favors by turning in what would generously be described as a hackneyed Regina George impression. But more troublesome: what the hell happened to all that clever dialogue we saw in Juno? Instead of wry, heightened banter we get this lame faux kidspeak that feels really forced. The characters in Juno tended to speak their own language but the obscure cultural references and unusual catchphrases were never more than incidental to young people expressing themselves. Here the subtly is gone and the bits of ersatz slang – jello (jealous), salty (attractive), chesters (losers), freaktarded (self-explanatory) – are treated like punchlines in and of themselves. Needless to say, those punchlines aren’t terribly punchy.

Why you should watch: Aside from a fairly hot girl-on-girl make-out scene? I really enjoyed imagining the whole thing was one extended, big budget episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When Needy goes to the school library’s shockingly extensive occult section to find answers about her friend’s condition, I kept expecting Giles to pop out and offer some helpful advice while polishing his glasses. Alas, he did not. Nevertheless, there are some decently creepy moments that are worth the price of admission, e.g., hot chick, slowly spreading a wide grin, filled with shiny, blood-coated teeth.

"Do you have any orange Tic-Tacs?"

Memorable Moment: Amanda Seyfried is no stranger to simulated underage sex but this is one to remember: her first time is going well until visions of dead people start ruining the mood. Trouble is, her eager boyfriend mistakes her frightened gasps for cries of pleasure. When he finally notices the tears, he optimistically asks, “What’s wrong? Am I too big?”

Choice quote: “They’re basically agents of satan, with really awesome haircuts.”

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3 Responses to “Jennifer’s Body (2009)”

  1. […] Jennifer’s Body – Shameless Oscar bait. […]

  2. Megan Fox on Jennifers body is just beautiful and very hot girl “”

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