US (dir. Karyn Kusama)
Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney
Synopsis: A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates.
Review: “Jennifer’s Body” is a movie that I was looking forward to with a mild amount of enthusiasm. It had an interesting pretense for a film, something along the lines of “Mean Girls” mixed with “Tamara” mixed with any movie in which there’s a demon who eats people. I thought it would have the potential to be a pretty sweet movie, but unfortunately it turned out that it was “From the Creators of JUNO” which could only mean there would be an overabundance of ultra-trendy dialogue mixed with a heaping of buzzwords I would have trouble deciphering. Of course, I was right.
There were two things that struck me when I was watching this movie, #1: there doesn’t seem to be that many men interested in Jennifer, or her body. She’s screwing a town deputy or something, but it doesn’t seem like the guy is terribly interested. He seems more interested in bragging about himself and making himself feel like a big man. So he didn’t quite strike me as the kind of guy this supposed “ultimate hot chick” would be fucking. Other boys in her high school don’t seem to pay any attention either. One jock she eventually ends up “seducing” and eating doesn’t really seem to notice her and while being seduced, he’s too busy mourning his best friend’s death to care that the “ultimate hot chick” has her hands down his pants. In fact the only people who express any legitimate interest in her is a Satan-worshiping indie rock band who actually considered her as a runner-up (in terms of sacrificial value) to her quirky and virginal best friend, Needy (stupidest name you could give a human being) and an emo teen who, when he discovers that Jennifer can’t distinguish between “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and the “Rocky” movie series decides that Jennifer is not really worth pursuing.
#2: all the obscure (and not so obscure) references, buzzwords, and slang are extremely difficult to decipher. I’m convinced not even the actors knew what they were talking about when reading their script. I specifically hated how there had to be an “Evil Dead” reference followed by a serious lez out moment. In fact, I’m not even sure why there had to be an “Evil Dead” reference at all. The makers of the movie clearly thought they were crafting a pretty awesome movie and I think they were both overly confident and overly ambitious. That false confidence stems from their comfortable approach to referencing cult classic films as if their own film would be on par with any of those films and would strike up the interest and admiration of fans of those movies, and their ambition stems from the fact that they thought throwing Megan Fox and her “awesome” hardbody into a horror movie would make for a great film. Sorry, but it doesn’t. I appreciate that they are trying to thrown into this movie as much brains as there is boobs and booty, but it’s just not enough, especially when the snarky comments and trendy witticisms aren’t very relevant or even very smart.
When you look at the character of Jennifer in this movie, you don’t see much beyond the body. Granted, they do try to develop her character throughout her demonic possession, but I was left wondering how much of her personality was actually Jennifer and not the demon. I don’t think the writers put much thought into who Jennifer is. On the surface she seems like the typical ditzy high school teen queen, but she makes references to some pretty obscure films, names, events etc. (“obscure” in the sense that your average teen girl wouldn’t really know of them) but then she’ll suddenly lapse and her character will just seem stupid when she has a ditzy spell of confusing classic movies or whatever. It’s almost as if the writers couldn’t even decide how they wanted to portray Jennifer. I almost wish they had just stuck to focusing on her body and not her brain, because I doubt Megan Fox herself had any idea what sort of character she was playing.
I think the only person who made any sense in this movie was Needy’s boyfriend Chip who was the only one smart enough to point out how needy his girlfriend Needy was for Jennifer’s time and attention. Needy herself was a mystery because I really couldn’t decide whether she secretly wanted Jennifer (sexually). And no, I don’t think I’m reading too much into the Needy/Jennifer BFF relationship, because if you watch the movie with even the slightest amount of attention you will notice Needy looking like she’s in need of some girl-on-girl action (hand holding with Jennifer, make out session, gazing into her eyes etc.). Although I couldn’t really decide if Jennifer too was into the girl-on-girl stuff too, because there were certain instances and remarks where she made it sound as though she might be bi-curious.
In terms of this being a horror movie, I don’t think it was terribly scary or well done at all. There are some really great gory parts but they are far too few. Jennifer herself only has two and a half onscreen kills involving cannibalism, which was a lot less than I figured they would show. In fact if you watch the trailer, you’ve pretty much seen all the kills and pretty much all the horror bits. I really wish they had spent some more time on the comic relief provided by the Satanic cult indie band, they were mildly funny but sadly plagued by the fact that they cast a dark shadow over the beginning of the movie when you pretty much assume they’ve raped Jennifer as part of their sacrificial ceremony. If you’re a teenage boy who is a fan of Megan Fox’s body, then I’d imagine this movie would be the highlight of 2009. Sadly for me, it’s in the worst pile, though I admit it has replay value.