Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #45: Jennifer's Body

"The pieces of Jennifer's boooody..." Sorry, I'm a Hole fan and Jennifer's Body is one of my favorite songs from their album Live Thru This. A song which was also the inspiration for the title, Jennifer's Body. A film starring sexy It-girl Megan Fox as Jennifer and the very lovely and talented Amanda Seyfried as her best friend, Needy. The film was directed by Karyn Kusama and written by award winner screenwriter of Juno, Diablo Cody, who also created United States of Tara, a television series I absolutely adore (at least the episodes I've been fortunate to catch). So it seems from all that I've stated this movie had a lot going for it. So was the movie good? Eehhh. Whatever. That's how I felt overall by the movie. It wasn't terrible and it wasn't good. It was just there. One of those watch it then shrug type films. Though I can see this being a film that some people find as guilty pleasure and some just downright hating that they spent their time watching this than doing something else productive, like writing a better script for a horror film.

The movie follows the character of Needy, played by Amanda Seyfried who I absolutely adore ever since she cracked me the hell up in Mean Girls. Needy is the awkward girl in school with a loving boyfriend and is best friends with the extremely hot and popular cheerleader, Jennifer, played by Megan Fox. We begin with Needy in a psychiatric center where she's put into solitude due to attacking a doctor trying to help her. She then tells us how she got there, starting at a town named the Devil's Kettle. There we see her relationship with boyfriend Chip, probably the only true likable character in this movie and we see her rather weird... lovingly abusive relationship with Jennifer. Jennifer is sexy and spunky with the right type of humor that is easy to annoy you if you were on the receiving end of it. That is the first strike for where this film failed where it could have succeeded, but we'll get to that later. Jennifer talks Needy into going to the local bar to meet Low Shoulder, a indie band from the city. Jennifer's plan is to get cozy with the lead singer, played by Adam Brody. While at the bar, we meet one of Jennifer's sex buddies and learn that she isn't a virgin, not even a back door one. While the band is playing, fire ignites and causes the death of some locals, destroying the whole bar. Needy and Jennifer make it out safely. Nikolai, the lead singer of Low Shoulder, talks Jennifer into leaving with him in his van with his band mates while Amanda sadly watches her friend go after arguing with her not to. Moments pass and Jennifer is sacrificed by the band to Satan for fame and fortune. Here's where the band messed up. Believing Jennifer is a virgin, this has caused a succubus to invade and take over her body, while Low Shoulder enjoy rising success. So now Jennifer comes back as if nothing has happened and feeds off of boys after seducing them to keep her strength and makes her way to Chip, while Needy is determined to stop her former best friend.

Now to the flaws and things I thought were okay. The biggest flaw I can say for this film were the characters. Besides Chip and a teacher played by J.K. Simmons, there really aren't much likable characters. We're also introduced to a lot of other characters in the film but there's nothing there to even care much for them. There's a emo goth kid who's fairly likable but besides being rather weird and quirky and slightly charming, what else is there when he becomes a target for Jennifer? Now Seyfried tries her best to bring some likability to the character of Needy, and while Needy is in fact a very strong protagonist, there's a lot of fault in the script that hinders and undermines her. So while the character herself isn't bad, it's the poor script that brings her down. And the main hindrance of the script goes to Jennifer as a character. The first mistake I've noticed upon first watching this was just how unlikable Jennifer was BEFORE she was killed and turned into a demon. This girl was an absolute bitch. She was mean to her best friend and just plain annoying. The film-makers failed there as they could have at least put some redeeming factors in the character for us to feel sorry about when she is shown being killed. Or at least show us a contrast! I wouldn't mind seeing a spunky but goodhearted Jennifer at first. That would have made her transformation as a demon a lot more interesting upon seeing how different she's become. Sure, it's a cliche, but for this movie the cliche could have worked well.

There were a lot of things I felt this movie could have done to make the overall watch a better experience. For one, if we maybe went into details on just how the demon works and who she picks to be her victims, specifically why them over other guys. Maybe if she could only seduce them a certain way or if they couldn't get it up, maybe she couldn't fully do much. But no, things were just happening and in a failed attempt to be hip, well... it failed, plain and simple. The one scene that I felt worked perfectly was the make-out scene between Needy and Jennifer. Jennifer seduces Needy into making out with her, but there obviously is a lot more to this... it was more of Needy allowing herself to be seduced. Underneath all the best friend stuff, she had actual sexual feelings for her friend and she responded back. The film was doing a great job with that with the scene actually being creepily done... but then it shifts back to "eehh-ness." And speaking of connections with the character, there's a weird supernatural-like connection between the two main character which is hardly EVER mentioned or explained besides Needy licking Jennifer's wound when they were kids. Um... ok. Whatever.

This film I will say did have some cool stuff here and there, notably Amanda Seyfriend as you can see I dig her a lot. Megan Fox was ok as Jennifer. I felt it was great to see her as someone in a film who knows she's hot and exploits herself despite not being likable. And there were some dialogue that were actually rather charming and gave the characters some personality. But the overall film was a bit of a dub. I also did love that Needy was a sexually active girl and the film didn't fall into the cliche "You're a bad girl if you have sex, and only girls who wait till marriage and study are good girls." While I didn't HATE the movie, I could have done without seeing it and wouldn't really recommend it. But who knows? I watched it tonight with two good buddies and they seem to dig it a lot. So... enter at your own risk, I suppose.

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