I am not the kind of guy who is easily impressed by feminine wiles. Whether it is from years of marriage or from DJing one too many nights at topless clubs, I’m not sure. Whatever the reason, though, I’m not the kind of guy to cut a woman slack because she’s pretty. Yes, I am the kind of guy who goes to Hooters for the wings and also complains about the service. It should then go without saying that I was NOT looking forward to seeing Jennifer’s Body, the latest vehicle for movie babe du jour, Megan Fox. I guess I’d just gotten tired of hearing innumerable fanboys going on about, “Who cares if Transformers 2 sucks… Megan Fox, dude.” I really didn’t mind the statement so much – it was just all the drooling that accompanied it. I’m sorry, but a pretty face doesn’t make a crappy movie any less crappy. So, as I sat waiting for the movie to start tonight, I dreaded what was coming.
I ended up with some pleasant surprises.
Some of the surprises? Well, first off, it’s not a horror movie. It starts out trying to make you think it’s one but soon drifts off into familiar teen dramedy territory – think Charlie Bartlett or Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist or, more accurately, Juno. There’s a good reason for that: Diablo Cody, who wrote Juno, is the scribe of Jennifer’s Body. Together with director Karyn Kusama (Æon Flux), she breathes life into the cozy and most certainly quirky town of Devil’s Kettle where the beautiful Jennifer (Fox); the nowhere-near-as-beautiful childhood friend Anita or “Needy” (Amanda Seyfried); and Needy’s boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons) live. The movie examines the age old question of what do you do when your best friend is possessed by a flesh-eating demon and is eating her way through your school’s male population? To go any further into the plot would be to steal some of its fun away and this movie can be pretty fun.
Another surprise was that I actually enjoyed Megan Fox in this. I was dreading that this was just going to be another boring tale of boobs and blood. It wasn’t. Yes, she played a self-centered, flesh-eating demon – which is a lamentable bit of typecasting -but it played perfectly against Seyfried’s more sensible and subdued Needy. Seyfried, in my most humble opinion, carried the movie quite simply for the reason that she had to. If we had been subjected to an hour and ten minutes of “Oooh, I’m Jennifer. I’m beautiful and insecure and popular and I also eat people,” I think I might have gone on a rampage of my own. Still, that’s the point for the hero (or heroine) of a horror movie. They are supposed to be the lynchpin, the anchor to humanity that we cling to. In this capacity, Seyfried acquits herself handily.
But, for all the pleasant surprises, it still wasn’t a perfect movie. Cody hit a few clunkers with some horror movie clichés, but nothing so bad as to detract from the movie as a whole. Those wanting more of a pure horror movie will be disappointed. Those looking for something a little more clever than average fare will be happy. I think it’s safe to say with Jennifer’s Body, there’s more than meets the eye.
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