October 10, 2009

Jennifer's Body

jennifers-body-movie-poster.jpgJennifer's Body was not on my must-see film list. I saw the previews, was skeptical, and agreed to take it on because I love Heroine Content. Then I started reading other people's reviews--lots of mentions of Heathers, even a few of Buffy-implications that it was self-aware, if a bit thin, farce. I can handle that, I thought. I liked writer Diablo Cody's Juno well enough, and loved director Karyn Kusama's Girlfight (reviewed here). By the time I actually saw Jennifer's Body, I was almost excited about it.

That excitement was so very misplaced. This movie is terrible. The Willamette Week review called Jennifer's Body "Heathers as a Maxim photo spread," and I'd say even that is too kind. It's not just the stupid teenage sexuality that the film centers around that makes it so bad--I was expecting that. And it's not just the fact that Megan Fox (Jennifer) can't act at all, not even a little bit--I was expecting that, too. But that farce I was promised? It never showed up.

The movie tries to be a farce. The idea--teenage hottie becomes literal man-eater--could be, if handled correctly, very amusing and even a biting (pun intended) indictment of horror film culture and high school and whatever else one felt like indicting. But this movie isn't funny, and it the only thing it indicts is Cody's ability to write believable dialogue. Or construct a compelling plot.

A Flick Filosopher, Maryann writes :

Cody has been saying all sorts of things to anyone who will listen about how Jennifer's Body is supposed to be some sort of allegory about adolescent girls, from their bitchiness to their best friends to their disordered eating. But all that's here are a few placeholders, points in the story at which some allegory could have been inserted later.

This is exactly the problem. The potential for farce, for allegory, really for anything even a little bit interesting, is here, but nothing ever comes from it. I can't help but think about how the same plot would be handled by smart writers, and it's a beautiful thing. Which just makes this complete failure all the more depressing.

The single bright spot in this dismal film (the way it's shot is dismal, too--half of it is too dark to see) is Amanda Seyfried. As Needy, Jennifer's put-upon best friend, and the film's eventual heroine, Seyfried has the honor of being the only person in the entire cast who can act (which those of us who know her from Big Love already knew). I know I'm supposed to have been impressed by Amy Sedaris' turn as Needy's mom, but I wasn't. Seyfried was quite literally the only member of the cast who shouldn't have her Actor's Guild card yanked. She also has the film's only really funny line, which I won't ruin for you, in case you do happen to see this awful movie.

I could go on and on about how bad this was, and list out all the things it completely fails to do, but that would waste everybody's time. I agree, for the most part, with nearly everybody who has already reviewed this everywhere else on the Internet. It sucked. Don't see it. No redeeming qualities. No stars.


I guess I will stand in the minority on this one....I liked Jennifer's Body. It was fun! Not perfect (but then I am struggling to think of anything that has been in the last few years). And it definitely could have been better - in my mind I keep comparing it to Ginger Snaps. Nonetheless, my roomies I am enjoyed it enough for repeated viewings. It has been awhile since that happened.

Redeeming qualities:

It was the whiny men so keen on relationships and so insecure as to their status in them. A wonderful switch from the usual woman-must-have-romantic-pairing in almost every film pumped out.

Needy did not have to stay a virgin to survive.

The bit at the beginning where recently-demonized Jennifer shows up at Needy's house. It's obviously supposed to parallel what would happen after a rape - Jennifer beaten up and in shock, Needy completely unsure about what to do and terrified at what's happened. The bit where Needy is sitting in the kitchen cleaning up the mess while crying was extremely real. It reminded us that rape doesn't just affect the victim, but also the people close to her. How many women have sat with a friend following a rape? How many times have women utterly denied the reality of what happened to them leading to eventual disaster?

Megan Fox has a proven sense of humor about her SEXINESS! Proof that she isn't just a robot - granted that could have provided a much needed plot twist in the plot-deficient Transformers films.

I would go with 2 stars. It had a lot of feminist potential in there, but admittedly squandered it

Honestly, if I'd liked or enjoyed the film, even the tiniest bit, I think I could see where you're coming from. As it was, it was just so completely awful I couldn't see much beyond that.



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