Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jennifer's Body (2009)


After being sacrificed by a small time band seeking fame, Jennifer (Megan Fox) becomes possessed by an evil spirit, one that thrives on the eating of humans. Her childhood friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) quickly figures out what's wrong, but is unsure what, if anything, can be done about it.

If there's one positive about Jennifer's Body it's that it is never boring. There's always something going on that'll keep your attention, and that's about where the quality of it ends. Diablo Cody's second writing effort is muffled to say the least. Caught between trying to be hip and edgy, while maintaining a dark satirical comedy aspect, Cody takes everything to the point of played out, almost reaching comical status. While director Kusama, who seems out to prove her breakthrough film Girlfight was a fluke, does pretty much nothing to help the film. Sticking directly to the script, utilizing nothing to spice up scenes, and horrible placement of music, everything bad about this movie just stands out like a sore thumb.

Worse yet Megan Fox is just not an actress with range. Utilizing what I can only describe as a Paris Hilton look on a young Angelina Jolie face, Fox's role will do little for anyone past puberty. While Amanda Seyfried does show some signs of promise, but the role is too restricting to the obligatory geeky high school friend that it never elevates beyond the same 4 lines. Supporting players do little to help as well. Johnny Simmons doesn't have the experience to add anything, but does play his character well. While Adam Brody's character forced me to constantly ask myself, "is that really Adam Brody?" In fact the only actor to stand in front of the screen that I wanted to see again was J.K. Simmons, who is just awesome to begin with, in absence of a script.

Of course all of their performances have to come with a grain of salt as they have little to work with. As stated Kusama's direction seems lost, while Cody's writing feels uninspired and forced. If there is one real bright spot in Jennifer's Body it would lie in the shooting locations and set designs. The finale at the pool is quite an amazing scenery, which of course I doubt few would be intended to notice with a levitation wet Megan Fox. Perhaps someone can explain this film to me. It was neither a dark comedy nor a thriller, and certainly never both at the same time. Ultimately I'd knock it up to an attempt at inspiring puberty ridden boys to get excited... but if that's the goal why make it R rated? That's probably why it barely made back it's measly $16million budget.

Uninspired, and riddled with failed attempts at being unique and different, Jennifer's Body is just a jumbled mess of good and bad, whose under-achievements stand out far too well.

3 better thoughts:

julianstark said...

Don't forget how they minimally use Cynthia Richardson, one of the most criminally underused actresses ever... she played Chip's (?) mother

I've only seen her give an actual performance in one film: Home for the Holidays. However, that performance showed more range and talent than most A-listers. Plus the film featured the best actor ever RDJ

M. Carter @ the Movies said...

Megan Fox definitely has no range, but she does have semi-decent comic timing. That works in her favor here, but she's still not an actress I ever see myself really liking. What ticks me off is that she got top billing and Amanda Seyfried did not -- even though Amanda's the actress with all the range and talent.

As a response to Julian: Cynthia Richardson was fantastic as the mom in the now-defunct TV show "Dead Like Me" (you might have seen that), and she was great in Todd Solondz's "Happiness" even though she was part of an ensemble cast.

Chase Kahn said...

After hearing A.O. Scott defend the film, even comparing it to a misunderstood, cult-level teen-flick along the lines of "Donnie Darko", I'll give this one a whirl, but I'm sure I'll be disappointed.

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