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.
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.
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!
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.
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