Friday, 27 November 2009

Jennifer's Body Review

Recently I went to the cinema to see Megan’s Body – sorry I mean Jennifer’s Body though the former would be a more appropriate title considering it is capitalizing on the attractiveness of its star like a typical pimp. I didn’t really have high expectations for Diablo Cody’s black comedy horror which was only reinforced by the fact I was one of five people in attendance. I left the cinema with an incredible sensation – that I was completely right as usual.

The film is about Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) an unlikable bitch who when brutally murdered in a ritual killing becomes possessed and has to devour Human flesh to stay alive – while the typical hot yet nerdy best friend Anita "Needy" Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried) is forced to stop her. I'll say no more of the plot since that is all it entails. You know the story it’s been done countless times in the hundreds of cheap ‘factory produced’ horror films that get churned out in a single week alone. In fact it tries to be a cult classic so hard that if it were a person it would be Lady Gaga – the attention seeking freak. Clearly it feels there is a checklist to fill out; cut and paste characters, cheesy dialogue that mistakes cheap innuendos with wit – the type which would be rejected by even the carry on films, gory violence combined of course with enough sexuality to please the average internet dweller. You’ll have heard of the ‘lesbian scene’ between Fox and Seyfried which frankly was the best bit of marketing the film could have had – in reality the scene is tame, derivative and utterly pointless. Diablo Cody apparently wanted the film to be about female empowerment and I have to ask why it is always synonymous with sex? Maybe sex is a sure fire way to lure a man to his death but it doesn’t make you empowered it just means men are fucking retards because you could do the same thing with a bacon sandwich.

Being a comedy horror about teenagers it tries to be funny, scary and explore teenage issues and I have great pleasure to say that it that it completely fails almost as badly as a moonlight powered sundial. The dialogue just makes you groan such as when Jennifer is impaled with a pole by Needy to which she retorts “Do you have a tampon I could borrow?” – To which Needy responds “yes” and when it has absorbed all Jennifer’s fluids she beats her to death with it to teach her not to pretend to be funny, or that’s what happened in my mind at least. Occasionally an actually funny line will be quipped for example when Needy and her boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons) are having sexual relations Needy begins screaming because she has a psychic link with Jennifer which might I add is never explained, and she sees a vision of Jennifer murdering Colin (Kyle Gallner) to which Chip says “Am I too big for you?”.

The horror elements are probably where this film really excels which is like saying Hitler was a great leader because he built the autobahns. Using the school of thought that to frighten simply use loud bangs and have things jump out – that every film uses, the film succeeds in being absolutely bloody standard. The only decent horror scene is when Jennifer is sacrificed by the indie band Low Shoulder simply because it is the only time we see her Humanity. Even before she is transformed Jennifer is supercilious and superficial and no that doesn’t make her a superhero.

Now as for dealing with teenage issues the only real issue is sexuality, and I’m not sure what the film is trying to teach us – perhaps Cody is an old school puritan and is trying to educate us by showing if we have sex we will die a horrible painful death. Needy’s relationship is an interesting one as it explores the bond between two best friends and how deep that goes before spoiling it all by hinting at lesbianism.

The story is absolutely ridiculous, dad dancing at a wedding style ridiculous. Ignore the fact that it is a film about a succubus serial killer for a moment while I run these discrepancies past you. So Jennifer becomes possessed after she is wrongly mistaken for a virgin and is sacrificed by an indie rock band who are seeking fame and fortune, claiming ‘that it is next to impossible for an indie band to succeed in the music industry these days’. I’m sorry but what? I can’t turn on the bloody radio without hearing some fucking indie whooping and playing their three chord songs. It would have been a better choice to have satanic Goths do the murder - mind you I would then have to complain that it is stereotypical. Not that you could say anything else about this film because it is clear it has been awhile since Cody was at high school since the characters she has created are absolutely generic cardboard cutouts, from Jonas (Josh Emerson) the hulking jock type to Ahmet (Aman Johal) the foreign exchange student who typically doesn’t speak a word of English you could honestly find these characters in any high school movie – but on the bright side at least they don’t attempt to sing.

The town’s police force is entirely incompetent, because in the hunt for the cannibal killer we don’t witness them doing any actual police work other than collecting the bodies. A tense atmosphere could have been created as the police investigate the serial killer, but this opportunity is missed. While I’m on this subject no one in this world seems like real such as Chip who takes Jennifer’s word that Needy has been cheating, and begins making out with her pretty much instantly despite claiming to love his girlfriend. Though this film does seem biased towards males as it portrays them as clueless sex starved idiots whereas the females have more emotional depth. I liked J.K. Simmons’ character Mr. Wroblewski because he is utterly insane but at the same time is the only one who feels as if he really belongs in the movie as he doesn’t take himself seriously.

The tone is more confused than a transgender schizophrenic prostitute, take the fire at the bar for instance it’s done in a very B-movie over the top style which directly conflicts with emotional scenes such as when the parents’ of the victims see the bodies of their children or when Jennifer kills Chip. We are supposed to feel for the characters when they die, but since they have been comical characters until that point it is just not going to work, nobody sympathises with the clown.

Needy far too understands Jennifer’s transformation to be plausible, for most of the film she simply asks if Jennifer has made a faux pas along the lines of telling a joke about disabled people in front of somebody in a wheelchair. After Jennifer has offed (in more ways than one) several young men including Jonas, Colin and Chip Needy goes to put an end to the slayings by killing Jennifer but at no real point stops to ponder the fact that Jennifer is a fucking demon. I mean is Needy actually Buffy and are demons everyday occurrences in Devil’s Kettle?

Much of the acting is passable when you consider the script they had to work with, but Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried really excel. The chemistry between them is enough for Britain to invade on the grounds it could be considered as a WMD. Fox is incredibly sultry and believably evil while Seyfried provides more of the emotional side.

In conclusion Jennifer’s Body is dire, really dire. It tires too hard and doesn’t excel in any of the genres it covers. Cody clearly has a lot of ideas but completely fails in covering them with any real depth. If the whole film wasn’t banking on Megan’s sexual aura and its deep rooted lesbian connotations then I would have been kinder to it. But as it were I can’t really recommend this film to even my worst enemies though on the plus side at least you’ll forget it as soon as you leave the cinema. Throughout this review I was struggling to remember much of the film, bit like date rape I suppose…