by William Goss
No one wants Jennifer for her heart, or her brains, presuming that she has either. No, 'Jennifer’s Body' is called just that for a reason, and in a no-duh feat of casting, Megan Fox not only looks the part of a girl that everyone wants, but also that of a young succubus who gets exactly what she wants – namely, getting away with murder.We start at the end, with Jennifer's ex-BFF, “Needy” (a meek Amanda Seyfried), poutily punting her way into solitary confinement at Ye Local Asylum. But it wasn’t always this way, natch: Jennifer and Needy were best friends, Jennifer was killed by some scheming indie rock band, and Jennifer did come back to life with a newly acquired taste for flesh (see, the band intended to sacrifice a virgin, which Jennifer was very much not).
"She's On That All-Boy Diet"
We don’t find that last part out for a while, though, but why? Jennifer vanishes, returns, starts to lose her strut, and always manages to have it return at the same time that another boy from school disappears without a trace. It’s pretty simple for us to piece together, and not much harder for Needy to figure out before she decides to intervene; in the meantime, we’re treated to sandbox memories of the two playing nice before one grew into something significantly more photogenic than the other. These flashbacks do little to support the thinly-drawn-but-handy psychic connection between these BFFs, and beyond that, they really just trip up a movie that’s quite arbitrarily shuffled to begin with.
But one suspects that Juno writer Diablo Cody’s priorities lie less with keeping a proper narrative in her sights and more with keeping her characters chock full of hyper-hip zingers that have us second-guessing that Academy Award win of hers not too long ago. “Where’s it at, Monistat?” spills out one second, “Nice hardware, Ace” the next, and a puncture wound is greeted with a request for a tampon; oh, the horror indeed. Isn’t it bad enough asking us to buy that a character would embrace a nickname like “Needy”? Isn’t it bad enough including a superfluous skinny-dipping scene that shows such little skin? What about the gratuitous make-out sesh between Jennifer and Needy ends as abruptly as it begins? Not much is funny, or scary, or sexy in the end (actually, scratch that last part in favor of said make-out scene).
More often than not, it seems like director Karyn Kusama (the similarly femme-centric Aeon Flux and Girlfight) was simply asked to point the camera, and with the help of M. David Mullen’s cinematography, she musters up an ominous mood here and there, whenever the characters simply keep their traps shut. Unfortunately, all the dark, wet streets can’t make up for, say, a sacrifice sequence that’s blurry and bloodless and needlessly accompanied by an a cappella rendition of “867-5309.” Hip? Hip. Hooray?As a snarky slasher flick, it stumbles; as a coming-of-age/loss-of-innocence parable, it’s alternately too obvious and too opaque. 'Jennifer’s Body' may look nice from time to time, but her personality is a whole other story.
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originally posted: 09/19/09 07:35:13