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Jennifer’s Body

by on December 30, 2009
 

Jennifer's Body inside

Diablo Cody’s follow-up script to “Juno” certainly doesn’t ring as sweet and real as its predecessor, but that was hardly the intention.

“Jennifer’s Body” again features themes of a girl’s body changing into womanhood and the utter chaos that injects into a woman’s life, but it’s slid into a horror story that just isn’t all that scary.

Megan Fox (“Transformers”) stars as the title character, who may have the marquee but doesn’t really hold the screen. That role falls to co-star Amandy Seyfried (“Mamma Mia,” TV’s “Big Love), who plays Needy, Jennifer’s somewhat nerdier BFF who watches the beauty queen’s transformation from simple object of every straight teen male’s lust to a literal maneater.

Still, Cody’s script is sharp and funny, but director Karyn Kusama is unable to translate the script with the skill that Jason Reitman did with that other movie.

Quickly, here’s the story: Jennifer’s body is inhabited by a demon (with a snappin’ origin story told at the outset of Act III), and has to feed on the flesh of young men to survive.

Needy is left with the pieces, trying to assemble them all to find out what’s happened to her friend as her classmates start dropping like flies.

The whole film is one big metaphor for puberty, as the popular, curvy Jennifer goes hog wild with the guys after undergoing her changes while her somewhat less-attractive, monogamous friend is left wondering what’s happening. At least that’s the intention, and they do everything they can to ugly her  Seyfried up, from her ridiculous glasses to a hideous prom dress. She shows some sex appeal in her love scene with her boyfriend (tied in with a much less-sexy sequence involving Fox) and lest you mark me a skeevy perv, let me note she’s playing a high school student at age 24.

The story is sound enough (and Cody certainly knows how to write about relationships revolving around teenage girls), but it’s in the scare sequences that the film goes off-kilter. There are very little actual scares, and Kusama relies too much on Fox’s makeup effects rather than creating atmosphere or any sense of dread. Even in the final showdown between Needy and Jennifer, the fight is hardly even interesting.

DVD extras include the theatrical and extended versions of the film and director’s commentary with Kusama and Cody.

If you loved Juno’s witticisms and rampant snark, “Jennifer’s Body” has some more of the same. It’s not a great film by any means, but it’s worth a rental.

Film: 3 Yaps
Extras: 3 yaps