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JENNIFERíS BODY

This movie sucks, pure and simple. Itís poorly constructed, self-satisfied and dull, being an uninspired run-through of bad-girl movie clichťs established by the likes of CARRIE, HEATHERS and last yearís TEETH, all of which far outpace this limp offering.

The Package
     JENNIFERíS BODY (2009) marks yet another bomb for director Karyn Kusama, following 2000ís GIRL FIGHT (a smash at Sundance but a commercial failure) and AEON FLUX (2005). As with the latter film (a visually impressive but otherwise inert sci fi actioner), the problem with JENNIFERíS BODY is with its half-baked script. That script was penned by Diablo Cody, of JUNO fame.
     Full Disclosure: Iím not a fan of JUNO and so am not the intended audience for JENNIFERíS BODY. But then again, based on the filmís less-than euphoric reception by critics and audiences Iíve no idea who that intended audience might be. The fact that Cody executive produced this new film (JUNOíS director Jason Reitman also lent his name to it) is the only conceivable reason her awful script was even greenlit. Had it been written by anyone else I believe it would have gotten the cold shoulder it deserves.

The Story
     Teenage Jennifer is the gorgeous but hopelessly bitchy best friend of a dorky girl nicknamed, appropriately enough, Needy. The two attend a concert in a tiny bar that catches fire and burns down, killing several of Needy and Jenniferís classmates. N&J, however, escape the conflagration--and act remarkably blasť about it. Jennifer promptly hops in a van with the band members and is whisked away.
     It seems the band has turned to Satan worship in a desperate bid for success, and are looking to sacrifice a virgin. What they donít realize is that their intended sacrifice is far from virginal; they kill Jennifer and intone the requisite incantations, and she comes back as a demon.
     In this new guise Jennifer is even bitchier than before (and apparently a lesbian to boot). The demon-Jennifer dismembers a guy in the woods and then sets her sights on Needyís new BF. Needy decides this is too much, and finally decides to fight back. But itís strictly a case of too little, too lateÖfor Needy and the viewer!

The Direction
     Karyn Kusama isnít a bad director, but sheís saddled with a script thatís at best hopelessly underdeveloped. Itís formless and choppy, feeling like several different movies, and falls apart entirely in the misconceived conclusion, which is so protracted and plain clumsy that a pivotal scene unfolds over the end credits. Thatís not even taking into account the obnoxious dialogue, which (as in JUNO) is concerned with hip cleverness above all else. All the characters are impossibly self-aware, and can always be counted on to deliver lengthy pop culture-inflected dissertations at any occasion.
     It seems this film was aimed primarily at a female audience. Yet TRANSFORMERSí Megan Fox, an actress popular with the MAXIM crowd who women by and large donít like, was cast in the title role. The presence of Ms. Fox, the copious gore and a wholly gratuitous lesbian smooch were evidently included to attract the guys, yet the film overall is far too bland to appeal to most male horror fans. What results is a ďFeathered Fish,Ē a popular Hollywood term referring to wishy-washy films like this one. A feathered fish, you see, can neither swim nor fly. Beyond that JENNIFERíS BODY was simply a bad idea all around.


Vital Statistics

JENNIFERíS BODY
Fox Atomic

Director: Karyn Kusama
Producers: Daniel Dubiecki, Mason Novick, Jason Reitman
Screenplay: Diablo Cody
Cinematography: M. David Mullen
Editing: Plummy Tucker
Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody, Sal Cortez, Ryan Levine, Juan Riedinger, Colin Askey, Chris Pratt, Juno Ruddell, Kyle Gallner, Josh Emerson

     

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