#1  
Old 09-22-2009, 08:36 PM
Karyn Kusama's Jennifer's Body

Jennifer's Body (2009)

Diablo Cody, the Academy Award-winning writer of "Juno," brings us something a little different from her previous project with "Jennifer's Body." While it is a little different from "Juno," the main problem with "Jennifer's Body" is that it's not different at all from other horror films that deal with demons and other similar monsters.

Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and Jennifer (Megan Fox) have been best friends since they were little kids. Now in high school, they continue to do everything together, much to the disliking of Needy's boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons). On one of their outings together, they go to a local bar to see a small indie band called "Low Shoulder" perform. Tragedy strikes as the bar catches on fire and burns to the ground.

The band, strangely unconcerned with the tragedy asks Jennifer to come along with them in their van. Later that night, Jennifer shows up at Needy's house, but she's not quite the same girl anymore. Needy slowly realizes that Jennifer has become something very evil as mysterious murders begin to happen around their small town.

Cody had done a brilliant job with her breakout film "Juno," well-known for its great use of teen slang and other great dialogue. For "Jennifer's Body," it feels as though she tried to use the same kind of dialogue, transplanting it from a delightful comedy-drama to the horror realm, without much success. Here, it never comes across as convincing, and ends up being more of an annoyance.

One of the main reasons it doesn't work as well is probably because Megan Fox is not convincing enough in the title role. This is the first real "lead" she's had and it was her chance to prove whether or not she could handle actual film roles, other than running around with things exploding all around her in the "Transformers" films.

Unfortunately, she only proves why she shouldn't be allowed to take on bigger roles. The dialogue coming from her feels very flat and forced, as if she's reading it off of a cue card. But let's be honest, she wasn't hired for this or for the "Transformers" films because of her "acting" ability. She is very pretty and provides eye-candy for the audience, but her appeal ends there.

The best performance in the film comes from Amanda Seyfried as Needy. She does a decent job of going through the emotions, however silly they might be, and comes off as convincing enough. One thing I was hoping that they would get to with her character was explaining why she was named "Needy." It sounds like there would be an interesting backstory there, but alas, we'll have to live without it.

What "Jennifer's Body" boils down to is a rehash of a story that feels like it's been used multiple times over: Strange things begin to happen, one of the main characters (Needy) slowly begins to figure it out, they try to tell someone about it (in this case, her clueless boyfriend, Chip), they don't believe her, and then a final confrontation (unless it's intentionally left open for a sequel).

There are some good moments of thrills throughout the film, but not nearly enough to sustain the entire movie. There are several scenes that felt like they were just biding time until Jennifer attacked her next victim, even wasting time by showing scenes of Needy making out with her boyfriend. I found myself yawning constantly throughout the film, just waiting for something to happen or advance the story, but with its predictability, even when the story did advance, it wasn't much of a surprise.

Speaking of predictability, Cody makes the mistake of opening with the events already having taken place, then flashing back to tell us the whole story of what happened. By the third act, we are able to tell exactly where the story is going to go because we already know where the story has to end up. It's strange that Cody would choose to ruin the story for us like that, but again, it's not that hard to figure out the story's direction in the first place.

It's interesting that film critic Roger Ebert called this film "'Twilight' for boys," but ended up recommending "Jennifer's Body" nonetheless. This is a fair comparison, but "Twilight" was a pretty bad film, and you know what? A "Twilight" by any other name is just as bad. 2/4 stars.
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2009, 02:35 PM
I loved Juno, and greatly enjoy Diablo Cody's column in EW, but this movie never looked to be all that to me. I shall never again undermine, under estimate, or doubt the power of Cody's imagination and her way with words. This is one of the kookiest and funniest films of the year. Megan Fox finally gets to prove she's a pretty decent actress and entirely commits to the role with verve and pluck. Amanda Seyfried is fantastic as the best friend/ voice of reason. Also, one of the most fucking cool soundtracks this year. A very welcome and very fun surprise! A
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