Review: Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Jennifer's Body

Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons

After a fateful night out on the town with her “BFF” Needy, conceited high school cheerleader Jennifer inexplicably becomes possessed by a flesh-hungry demon. When it’s discovered that this insatiable hunger drives the teen to devour the male classmates that would’ve never had a chance with her prior to her transformation, Needy begins to become suspicious. As events continue to unfold, it becomes abundantly clear that Jennifer is indeed responsible for the murders, and it’s up to Needy to get to the bottom of things and off the bloodthirsty wretch before she gets her hands on her own boyfriend, Chip.

Diablo Cody should at least try to realize that an overabundance of exceedingly clever and pithy dialogue does not necessarily make a good film. Granted, the Oscar-winner’s second venture into yet another world chock full of smart-mouthed hipster teens isn’t a total turn-off, and said dialogue does bring about its fair share of laughs. In fact, the biggest problems Jennifer’s Body suffers from are essentially those dealing with it living up to the high standards fans of Juno and the like had developed when the film was initially put into production, amongst other minor mishaps.

What casual viewers and critics alike have been complaining about the most is without a doubt the genuine lack of substance the film sports in attempting to be a full-blown horror comedy. With this in mind, yes, the scares are few and far between, and a surprising lack of gore leaves us without the campy sense of humor the film seemed to possess prior to its actual release. Additionally, Karyn Kusama’s fairly inconsistent direction fails to compliment Cody’s style of writing to the fullest, thus allowing the film to fall flat on its face during certain points in the already fractured narrative, of which succumbs to several recognizable horror movie clichés. Despite these flaws, I felt the the back-and-forth structure of the narrative was mildly appropriate and the script does possess a few welcome curveballs I found to be quite interesting in the long run.

While the acclaimed writer in question has found solace in some pretty terrific female leads, Megan Fox fails to fit the bill. Of course she’s fine enough to look at, and her portrayal of the all-too-conceited Jennifer is very respectable, but it’s because of her character’s behavior that I had a hard time liking anything about her even before she started offing her male counterparts. Thankfully, Jennifer’s homely best friend Needy, aptly played by Amanda Seyfried, brings a substantial amount to the table where Fox simply couldn’t, and the efforts of the rest of the supporting cast further save Jennifer’s Body from being a total mess.

Needless to say, Jennifer’s Body simply doesn’t provide theatergoers with an altogether original and exceedingly funny horror-comedy experience. Diablo Cody’s often clever style of writing does boost the film at points when it begins to drag, and some elements strewn throughout it managed to be very enjoyable. However, outside of a pretty solid cast, the film has little to offer fans of the genre and of what many had anticipated prior to its release, with the exception of Fox being absolutely gorgeous regardless of the quality of the film she’s starring in. All in all, I’d say it’s worth your time, but don’t expect any Oscar nods this time around.

Rating: 5/10

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