Sunday, April 18, 2010

jennifer's body

I was surprised to see this, Diablo Cody’s first movie since Juno, shooting straight to DVD. Juno was such a hipster success here with all its jive-talkin’ and rising starlets—how could Jennifer’s Body, starring Megan Fox’s body, not be a hit seen by squillions? Well, because it’s terrible.

Juno was a movie that suffered from too much hype. It was a good piece of cinema, but could never be as brilliant as the frenzy of adoration made it out to be. I thought it was fine, but hardly flawless, and as we all know no one actually talks like anyone in that film actually did. Still, Ellen Page is pretty endearing and any movie with JK Simmons in it can’t be that bad. Or, so I thought until he turned up in Jennifer’s Body, apparently the school’s only teacher and wielding a ridiculously fake hook hand. The school I mention is the high school that Fox’s Jennifer and her bestest pal ever, Amanda Seyfried’s Anita, go to. Jennifer is a beautiful cheerleader, Anita (otherwise known as Needy) a slightly dorky, fizzy-haired companion. (You can tell she is dorky because at the start she wears glasses, which she apparently doesn’t need at the end of the film when she gets tough.) Needy has a boyfriend in the lovable Chip.

And that’s just about all the background information you get on the girls. They go out one night to a seedy bar to watch a band whose lead member is “salty”, according to Jennifer, and after the gig is abruptly cut off when the entire place goes up in flames. They escape unharmed, and Jennifer gets into the band’s van and leaves Needy behind, worrying that her friend has made a stupid move. (Arguably, agreeing to play Jennifer was Fox’s first stupid move here.) And she has, but not as expected—when Needy sees her next, Jennifer is a demon, and a bloody, vomiting, hungry one. Her favourite food of choice, alas, is young cliched males. With the town in fear of the brutal serial killer on the loose, no one but Needy understands that it is Jennifer that is the culprit, so she takes matters into her own hands.

The movie bites in just about every way. It’s not particularly funny, bar a couple of amusing scenes—like when Needy and Chip are indulging in some awkward but adorable teenage bonking, and Needy gasps in horror from a vision of Jennifer eating a fellow student. Chip pauses in concern and says, “Are you okay? Am I too big?” (Aw, teenagers.) It’s not scary either, and I can’t really interpret much social commentary from it. The student body—what little we see of it—are parodies of themselves; Goths that are willing to declare their love of the Dark Lord at a fellow Goth’s funeral with his straitlaced parents looking on, bemused; a few goofy-looking footballers the size of houses who only wear letterman jackets and aren
t too bright. It’s not gory, it’s not dramatic, it’s not involving—it’s a big roll of film that gives you nothing at the end. Sometimes, it’s just confusing, like when Needy goes to the prom in a bright pink dress with poofy sleeves that would have been divine in 1986 but now seems like an unexplained joke, and isn’t even useful for fighting in. When an injured Chip sees her in her dress and says, “You look beautiful,” she says, “Oh my god, you’re delusional!” in all seriousness. While Juno was almost entirely made up of a newfangled teenage language, Jennifer’s Body doesn’t have as much, and then, unforgivably, explains itself when it does. “Salty” means “cute”, in case that wasn’t blindingly obvious already.

I tried hard to think of something good about the movie, but all I could come up with was one thing: Fox herself. For all the movies I’ve seen her in (er, just Transformers, actually) I’ve never really seen her just stand around or walk or have a multitude of expressions. Even when she is gaunt and starved of human flesh, even when she is vomiting spiky black bile—she is an absolute knockout. Perhaps I just covet blue eyes because mine are brown, and long flowing black hair because mine won’t grow fast no matter how much I will it to, but she really is beautiful, even though in this movie she is nothing but an absolute bitch, even before she is a demon.

There’s no twist, it’s boring and pointless, and frankly whatever you imagine this movie to be like will be better than how it is, so just go on Google Images, find some pictures of Megan Fox, print them out, make them into paper dolls and create your own version. It’ll be Oscar-worthy in comparison.

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