Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody, J. K. Simmons, Kyle Gallner
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Diablo Cody
Cinematography: M. David Mullen
Original Score: Stephen Barton, Theodore Shapiro
Running Time: 102 Mins.
That Jennifer’s Body is from the writer of Juno at first seemed like a big ploy to get the oh-so-cool kids that would have thrived off that film’s hip, and deeply over-rated, scripting in at any cost, but I knew thought I knew better, I thought the similarities would be non-existent in terms of both tone and execution. How wrong I was, this could basically be called “Juno-The Dark Year”, with Mamma Mia and Mean Girls Amanda Seyfried standing in for Ellen Paige, which to be honest gives it one up on Juno from the off, given Paige’s irritating delivery of the supposedly cleverly ironic lines. But let’s be honest this film isn’t about Amanda Seyfried, just look at the poster!
So yes, what of the much maligned (by critics at least) Megan Fox, well she looks as damn hot as you would expect and is given ample opportunity to show off her “talents” but what of any actual talent, well, she is clever and for that you have to give it to her. Playing off the dumb beauty tag she seems to have adopted since starring in the Transformers franchise and never likely to win any awards, she at least plays to her strengths, ironic knowingness is her game and in that field she runs amok. Bouncing between good-looking but emotionally weak school hottie and evil spawn of Satan, Fox exudes charm and hits all the right notes, coming across as creepy when needed and delivering Diablo Cody’s lines pitch perfect. So a revelation to be sure and thankfully worthy of more than just being oggled!
Seyfried compliments Fox well and as a pairing they are hugely watchable, playing of one-another strengths and weaknesses, but what lets them down IS the script. Cody desperately wants to be the female Tarantino, borrowing from a horror film here, referencing a teen film there, snatching dialogue from this, and echoing something that happened then, it all becomes rather tiresome and fits together so incoherently it frankly seems messy and undisciplined, simply highlighting the fact that Cody has no original ideas of her own.
In its attempt to prove cool and trendy it feels overly knowing, to self-aware of its reverential nature and all too proud of its postmodern structure and style, this kind of self-awareness can work a dream, Kevin Williamson knows this all too well. And horror is a fine genre to work within but you need focus, something Jennifer’s Body doesnt have and come the finale I had a yearning for Williamson’s The Faculty which this seems to rip the whole final third from, albeit with much less impact.
Fox has said she is proud to be in a film written by a woman, directed by a woman and starring two strong female leads, this really stands for nothing as there is no message about female strength in here, or any message of any sort, only that all the male characters are pushover’s or Devil-worshippers, characterisation needs to be a little deeper to mean something beyond being weak willed, and the made up slang just made me think Cody was craving her youth again, at least in a film like Brick it had a purpose and place, with this and Juno it is simply grating.
Coming as something of a shock, Megan Fox CAN act and is self-aware enough to carry of the rather scatter-shot dialogue of writer Diablo Cody, but it is in Jennifer’s Body’s script that the film falls apart. Trying far too hard to be hip and trendy it fails miserably, leaving the great fun performances to carry you through a film far too self-aware for its own good.