This movie had the pedigree to be a classic. Diablo Cody, one of the most celebrated screenwriters working Hollywood teams with the hottest new Hollywood actress Megan Fox for a new take on high school. The pedigree maybe was there but the ingredients didn’t amount to much.
Megan Fox plays Jennifer, the most popular girl at the small town of Devil’s Kettle’s high school. She’s beautiful, popular and a heartbreaker. Her best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) idolizes her and fantasizes about what it would be like to be her.
One night Jennifer and Needy sneak out to see Jennifer’s new favorite band, Low Shoulder. Immediately Jennifer falls for the band’s lead singer (The OC’s Adam Brody dressed in gothic eyeliner). Thinking she’s a virgin, the band kidnaps Jennifer and plans on sacrificing her to Satan in exchange for fame and fortune.
What they don’t know is this girl ain’t no virgin!
Jennifer transforms into a “succubus”, a girl who must feed on men to maintain her beauty and stamina. Basically she becomes like a female praying mantis. She mates then eats her man.
You have Diablo Cody’s snappy dialogue, interesting characters, a charismatic leading lady, her stable and underrated best friend and oodles of in jokes. So what is exactly at fault? I’d have to say the director.
Karyn Kusama (Girlfight & Aeon Flux) drowns in this film. You can tell in almost every scene she is in way over her head. She is no Kathyrn Bigelow. She has the same problem she had here as she had in Aeon Flux. She doesn’t know how to tell more than one story at a time. Also she doesn’t know how to let snappy dialogue flow.
For example the whole angle of the indie band being “Creed” or “Maroon 5” is hysterical with a soulless lead singer who would do anything for money and a career is a priceless satire of pop culture except Kusama never lets the movie go that far. You have just a sliver of it. The jokes about indie rock bands in this movie (pardon the pun!) rock!
Then there is the whole tagline for the film about “She’s evil… and not just high school evil.” That is a perfect satire of elitist popular high school chicks but the film barely goes there too. It could have been as classic as “Jawbreaker” or “Heathers” but it crashes and burns.
What is left when you don’t let the satire bloom is basically a soulless horror movie where your lead actress eats men. The gore is there but the humor isn’t.
Megan Fox has gotten a lot of flack for being as soulless as her character in this movie. If you ignore her real self and just watch her in this movie you can see why she is so popular and I am not just talking about her beauty. She can act. She’s got sexy, charismatic, psychotic and tormented down pack. But she does need to work on sympathetic and confused. Amanda Seyfried does out act her in this movie but you can see that Megan has evolved from being a one-look wonder in Transformers.
Jennifer’s Body had so much potential.
2 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer