Jennifer’s Body (or as it’s known to many people, “that movie where Megan Fox eats people”) attempts to walk that difficult tightrope that is the horror comedy. It’s a hard combination to pull off because you have to find that perfect balance where you don’t go too far in either direction. Drag Me To Hell is a great recent example of a movie that managed to walk that line perfectly. Jennifer’s Body on the other hand is not nearly as successful. It’s a horror comedy that’s not scary and not very funny….and you never want that.
I basically already summarized the plot in that first paragraph but I’ll try and expand on it at least a little. The movie follows Jennifer Check, played by Megan Fox. Jennifer is the queen of her high school because; well she looks like Megan Fox. Her best friend is Needy (real name Anita), played by Amanda Seyfried. So one night they go to see a bad emo band at a local bar, the place burns down, the two get separated and Jennifer ends up returning that night, covered in blood and puking black bile. Needless to say, something is up. Before long Jennifer has started eating high school boys and Needy has to put a stop to that.
As far as horror comedies go, that’s not a bad premise. I think a better movie could have done a lot with this idea. Unfortunately Jennifer’s Body is not that movie.
First off, I can’t get behind the choice of making a generic emo band the “agents of Satan”. They at least explain everything a little more in a sequence near the end but it’s still pretty silly. I mean try and picture Fall Out Boy as the servants of Satan. Just doesn’t work does it? Plus the venue they play at doesn’t make any sense either. I mean if this band came to play in a small town bar they would just get whisky bottles thrown at them. Instead the crowd here gets super into them. That to me was the most unrealistic part of this whole movie.
Second, seriously Diablo Cody what the hell? Nobody talks like this! I will admit I liked Juno (seeing it before all of the insane hype may have helped) but that same style of dialogue just doesn’t work at all here. It all just comes off as forced and I think Cody is going to have to find a new gimmick because this just isn’t going to do it anymore. It’s only the second movie that has really made use of it but it’s already far run its course. If people hated that dialogue in Juno (I think everyone hated that random Thundercats reference) they are going to despise it here as well, perhaps even more so.
NOTE: Megan Fox does not appear naked in this movie....but I bet that photo made you really want to see the movie for a second there.
Megan Fox is undoubtedly the big thing right now, almost entirely because she’s hot. She certainly hasn’t done much to prove it’s because of her acting. Thankfully this is the first time she’s proven (to me anyway) that she actually is a pretty decent actor. Sure the character isn’t too much of a stretch (as I said earlier it’s mostly just her about her being hot) but she does get a few moments to show-off and I must say, nice job Fox. I would still like to see her play a nerd or something, see how she does there. But for now, this is definitely the best example of her acting abilities.
The acting highlight without a doubt however is Amanda Seyfried as nerdy best friend Needy. We know right away she’s a nerd because she has glasses and pulled back hair. I’ve always been a fan of Seyfried and this is a great reminder why. She completely steals the movie and elevates it to a level that it probably doesn’t even deserve. Plus she and Megan Fox totally make out for like a minute…so there’s that.
I mentioned earlier how this movie doesn’t really succeed at being either a horror movie or a comedy and that is really the main problem here. A couple of lines are amusing but it simply doesn’t take it far enough. The same goes for the horror. There’s no genuine suspense and the only jump scares are of the cheap BOO variety. The gore is pretty tame too, so you don’t even have that to fall back on either. The whole thing is quite simply kind of a mess.
I mean that quite literally. It really does feel like a lot of the script was just stitched together. There are plot points that aren’t really explained like: how does Needy not suspect more is up when Jennifer basically vomits evil onto her kitchen floor, why all of a sudden does she also have psychic powers, and why are they now lesbians? Actually I don’t really need an answer for that last question, I’m quite satisfied with that no matter the random context it’s presented in. Also Needy makes an incredibly stupid choice near the end of how to save her boyfriend, but I won’t spoil that here. You’ll know it when you see it. My point is simply that the whole thing doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and probably could have used a quick look over before filming actually began.
Jennifer’s Body never bored me but I was never engaged by it either. I never really laughed, I never got scared, but there was something about it that made me have to know where it all was going. Now that it’s over I have no intention of ever seeing it again but it did leave a lasting impression in that the damn song they keep playing throughout has been caught in my head for about 36 hours now. So well played Jennifer’s Body, well played.