‘Jennifer’s Body’ a Misunderstood Treat (Review)
Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, Johnny Simmons
Karyn Kusama’s teen bloodsucker flick Jennifer’s Body was greeted with a sinister disdain. It was completely destroyed by critics, but the truth is it was the product of a vile perpetuated myth ignited by a few notable media outlets. You see, a handful of influential critics all but impaled everyone involved, and I sincerely believe that, rather than formulate honest, individual opinions, hating the film quickly became the thing to do. From a technical standpoint, Jennifer’s Body is surprisingly refined. And it’s funny. At times, it’s really funny.
To be fair to detractors, the humor is probably part of the turn off for some. Jennifer’s dialogue is hokey to the 10th power, but it’s supposed to be ludicrous. No female alive, away from a film set, has ever said “you give me such a wetty.” Seriously, no one has said that. It sounds absurd, and it’s supposed to. It’s supposed to be over the top, and that brand of humor is sprinkled throughout the entire production. If you watch the film without a stick up your ass, chances are you’ll get more than a single laugh at the price of these brow raising quips. Of course, if it is just too much for you, what can I say? It’s not a film for you. Different strokes for different folks, right?
When you peel away the dialogue, there are very few things to point at and say, terrible! Diablo Cody’s script is (again, aside from Jennifer’s dialogue) very engaging. The gore makes for an ooey gooey good time and the performances are excellent. I can’t say I’m a fan of Megan Fox or her body of work, but she sells this role like very few others could have. The reason being, it seems like a startlingly accurate portrayal of her actual personality… as sad as it is to say that (again, I don’t know the woman, she could be a complete sweetheart for all I know). Amanda Seyfried somehow pulls off the nerdy sidekick role quite well. Johnny Simmons and Kyle Gallner turn in memorable performances. But Adam Brody, who unfortunately has a very small role, totally and utterly kills. This dude is hilarious and so wickedly nonchalant that it’s almost hard not to cheer for his character, despite his status as a villain. It’s a fine ensemble that doesn’t deserve the negative press heaped upon it (I’m still confused by every last critic who panned Megan for this one… this is definitely Megan’s show!).
I haven’t mentioned the idea behind the film, which I should. Check it out, Jennifer is a hipster teen who thrives on trendy BS ways of life, and boys. A trip (with bestie, Needy) to a local “club” (it’s a rundown bar) to see the new band Low Shoulder results in a face to face showdown with evil. Well, it does for Jennifer, who channels her inner groupie and takes off with the band, leaving Needy behind after a fire breaks out at the pub. When Jennifer eventually returns from her joyride with Low Shoulder, she’s different. Hell, she’s not even human anymore. She’s become a man eating monster with an even sharper edge to her already off-putting personality. Needy, being the level headed one, sees the changes, investigates and ultimately learns what Jennifer is, and how to stop her from killing off the entire senior class. The only question to contemplate is, who will fall into the murderess’ sites before this strange affliction can be properly addressed.
Vampires are seldom fun these days thanks to the opened flood gates and subsequent oversaturation, but Jennifer’s Body flies by and it holds our attention. We want to know the fate of these characters. We want to see if the bad guy gets what’s most certainly coming to him (and her, in this case). We want to know if the good-natured boyfriend lives to see the credits roll. Who will be caught in the hazardous crossfire? We care about these things, and we care because the story mechanics are strong and the performers are convincing. That’s a lot more than can be said for a lot of productions out there. Regardless of what any critic says, I know the truth. The truth is, Jennifer’s Body is a kick. Funny and edgy, it’s a stylized production that has been largely misunderstood since release.
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