Jennifer’s Body: Not your high school’s mean girl
Courtney Eckerle | Monday, September 21, 2009
What’s a girl to do when her best friend turns into a boy-eating demon? Kick that demonic succubus back to hell of course. Everyone knows how hellish teenage girls can be, but “Jennifer’s Body” takes it to a whole new level.
Megan Fox plays Jennifer, the typical popular mean girl turned not-so-typical cannibalistic she-demon from hell. Amanda Seyfried, of “Mamma Mia” fame, stars as Jennifer’s less than socially adept best friend, Needy. They live in a nowhere town ironically named “Devil’s Kettle,” where boys start disappearing one by one after a mysterious fire has Jennifer running off with an indie band that worships the devil.
While writer Diablo Cody’s sophomore attempt doesn’t lose any of the kick and pop culture references that made “Juno” a hit, there are, however, several eye-roll inducing phrases that are obviously trying to mold the “teenage” group into witty pun machines. For instance, Jennifer changes the word jealous to “jello,” and walks around saying good-looking people are “salty,” even before she wants to eat them. However, there are several redeeming clever culture slams like when a girl yells, “of course it’s true, it’s on their Wikipedia!”
The soundtrack also contains the same kind of “I’m just here ironically” music that made the “Juno” soundtrack such a huge success, featuring acts like Little Boots and Cute Is What We Aim For.
Fox is definitely taking on a bigger acting role than in the “Transformers” movies that made her famous, although it’s not exactly difficult since that role seemly consisted of finding every possible way to rub her chest up against the hood of a car.
The film opened at No. 5 in the U.S. box office on Friday, only pulling in $2.7 million in ticket sales, which shows that despite Fox’s sex appeal, she still doesn’t possess the chops to successfully open a movie. Audiences do however, have to give her credit for signing on to do a movie where she is devouring the very demographic that makes her successful, and scenes of her vomiting black goo and covered in blood and guts are far more frequent than ones without.
Audiences also end up feeling sorry for the sadistic (both before and after her transformation) Jennifer when they see how she dies to the tune of “867-5309 (Jenny)” by Tommy Tutone, a fate too terrible to wish on anyone.
While Fox is strapped into her less-than-a-stretch temptress role, pretty girl Seyfried shines as a plain girl. Normally it is enough to slap some glasses on an actress and have her wear loose, “nerdy” clothing to make her the Plain Jane character, but it is really Seyfried’s range that drives home her spin on the ‘girl lower in the pecking order finding her strength and standing up to the queen bee’ scenario. Except in this case the queen bee has fangs and a taste for human flesh, so naturally, our virtuous heroine needed to kick it up a notch as well, fighting her off in the final standoff wearing a pink prom dress that would make the ’80s cringe.
Despite enough gallons of blood and icky black bile to fill Lake Michigan and a very dead-eyed demonic Fox, “Jennifer’s Body” is lacking in real scares, and it almost seems to be mocking the high school scare tactics thriller in the same way that “Juno” mocked the Lifetime movie teen pregnancy dramas.
What it lacks in scare tactics, it makes up for by dealing with girl issues in a very, very twisted way. The entire movie has the “sandbox friends” competing right up until the very end, when they fight over Needy’s boyfriend in a way that is slightly more extreme than reality, seeing as how Jennifer wants to kill him.
While “Jennifer’s Body” may be twisted, it offers a very different and shockingly realistic view of how girls deal with the insecurities they have with friends, although obviously (hopefully) this premise is so far exaggerated to make a point- that mean girls always get their due, courtesy of their supposed “weaker” friends, a fable that will no doubt empower every girl’s inner high school Plain Jane.