Two out of five stars
Rated R/111 min.
At a pivotal moment in Jennifer’s Body, a horror/comedy written by Juno scribe Diablo Cody, Jennifer, played by Megan Fox, flashes a big grin and reveals a mouth full of bloody, razor sharp teeth. Her smile is supposed to provide a big scare and induce nightmares, but you know what? I’ll bet this is the exact same toothy grin Fox gave her agent when he told her how much she’s getting paid to star in Transformers 3.
Jennifer is a flaky but sweet high schooler whose best friend Anita (Amanda Seyfried) hangs on her every word and is troubled when, after they both survive a fire, Jennifer begins showing up at her place, in the middle of the night, covered in blood and mean as a snake.
Let me cut to the chase for Fox’s fan base: the title is a tease. There’s no nudity. A bigger problem is that, despite obvious efforts to be another Heathers, the movie is never funny or scary enough. It barely rises above trashy slasher status and settles for being watchable but toothless.
Fox’s “performance” is one of the biggest problems, as she doesn’t have the comic timing or acting chops to play an evil variation on the kind of role Seyfried (who is excellent here despite lame material) nailed in Mean Girls. Had the roles been reversed, with Seyfried playing the wicked Jennifer and Fox cast against type as a dowdy nerd, this could have been interesting, but Fox playing another vamp, with her breathy whisper and tight outfits, is obvious casting that does nothing for the movie but provide a sexy star for the poster.
Cody can be a clever writer, but she’s also the Dane Cook of screenwriters: she stuffs pop culture references into dialogue that’s supposed to be witty but is simply showy and often inauthentic.
Karyn Kusama, who directed both the wonderful Girlfight and the not-as-bad-as-you’ve-heard Aeon Flux, gives us moments that feel like they’re leading to a great horror or comic set piece, but all the promising set ups are a bust. Even the obligatory prom climax, which one character ominously predicts will be a bloodbath, winds up being cornball.
A constant theme is that Anita, despite having a loving boyfriend, is obsessed and possibly in love with Jennifer; they have a brief make-out scene that goes nowhere and was presumably included because: a) dudes want to see Fox make out with a girl; and b) the movie could win Best Kiss at next year’s MTV Movie Awards. Maui Time Weekly, Barry Wurst II