Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Megan Fox became an instant superstar from her role in the Transformer movies. Jennifer’s Body is her first work outside of those films, and many people have justifiably been anxious to see her performance. With some optimism fueled by the fact that Diablo Cody, writer of the award-winning Juno, penned the script, one might go into Jennifer’s Body expecting a fresh and original thriller that will entertain at the very least.

Unfortunately, both of these attractions to the film are where it fails. Megan Fox disappoints with a very predictable performance, and Cody’s writing has me convinced that she cares more about forcing new lingo into the vernacular than crafting a sensible and satisfying story.

I’ll start with Cody. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Juno, but Jennifer’s Body is miles below that film. My primary problem is Cody’s distinctive dialogue. I can’t stand the contrived and unlikely phrases and exclamations that these characters use. Some make me sigh, others make me laugh at how stupid they are. None of them made me a fan of Cody.

It’s not only her dialogue. Besides the fact that Miz Cody seems to believe that deer are carnivorous, she also never bothers to make her characters interesting or intelligent. They all run around making foolish decisions and failing to communicate things even half as well as a competent high schooler would. I guess it’d be a problem for Cody to have her characters make more sense, because the second they stopped coming up with ways to call people jealous like “lime green Jell-O” and started talking to each other, there’d be no plot.

Cody doesn’t even attempt to make the audience believe that Needy and Jennifer have been best friends their entire life. She throws out a single one-line explanation – “sandbox love” – and ignores the fact that even five minutes into the film, any intelligent audience member would know that they had far too many problems to maintain a close friendship for so long. There’s never a real sense of how Jennifer is before her abduction, so it’s impossible for the audience to know whether or not her behavior is out of character for her.

Cody’s writing is horribly weak and flawed. She has no regard for establishing or developing characters and focuses almost entirely on coming up with trying-too-hard catchphrases. Luckily the acting doesn’t show up her script too much.

Megan Fox gives the most obvious performance of all time. This is Megan Fox being Megan Fox – there’s no way that she could convince me that she was actually acting here. All Fox knows how to do is be sexy and bitchy, sometimes separately and sometimes together. I’ve never seen a single other emotion performed convincingly from her. I wasn’t too thrilled with Amanda Seyfried either, though Adam Brody puts on a great performance as an evil struggling rock star.

I was interested in the film and its promise to be both scary and funny, but in addition to the film’s horrible writing and acting, it was also meager in those fields as well. A few jumpy moments, one or two creepy scenes, and occasional laughter was all that it could provide. With such grating dialogue and uninspired performance, this film can’t afford to be so cheap in its attractions, but it is, and fails horribly because of it.

Final rating: 3/10

–James A. Janisse

 

 

 

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