2009, R, 102 min. Directed by Karyn Kusama. Starring Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody, J.K. Simmons, Amy Sedaris, Cynthia Stevenson.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Sept. 18, 2009
Kusama, the director of 2000’s spunky Girlfight, and Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of 2007 sensation Juno, combine forces in Jennifer’s Body in an attempt to infuse some girl power into their mash-up of cheeky horror films and teen-angst movies. The result is more mash than smash as Jennifer’s Body squanders its initial good will by failing to deliver the goods on either score. The scares are unconvincing and the overall teen scene too rote to sway us into believing that this Body is new and improved. The addition of Transformers’ vampy Fox as this film’s demonically possessed Jennifer is a stroke of … um… casting catnip, and the actress here demonstrates that she can deliver lines of dialogue as well as run sexily from robotic machinery. As Jen’s mousy best friend, Needy, Seyfried (Mamma Mia!) creates a strong performance in a role that is confusingly written. Obviously crushing on her BFF (the prettiest girl in school, who, in the real world, wouldn’t be caught dead with Needy), she also has a boyfriend. The lesbian love interest is here used only for titillating effect, just as it is in male-focused narratives. Sure, Jennifer’s Body brims over with Cody’s hip and snappy dialogue, but clever references to Hello Titty and wetties instead of hard-ons are unable to carry the movie on their own. Without real scares, only intermittent laughs, and a trite flashback structure that narrates the movie via Needy’s perpetual voiceover, Jennifer’s Body is hardly robust.