Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jennifer's Body (2009)

     Let me begin by noting that I was not at all impressed with Juno (2007), the film that put screenwriter Diablo Cody on the map.  It felt like a tired, forced, wanna-be hip, unfunny version of Saved! (2004), a serio-comedy about an unplanned teenage pregnancy that actually has some notes to hit.  I am one of those people who wants to believe that the author is the most important piece of the film-making experience (obviously), but I still don't pay enough attention to who is responsible for what.  I did know that there were likely going to be quirks to annoy me with Cody's script for Jennifer's Body (2009), but I expected more refinement than I had seen in her previous effort.
     That is not what I experienced.  Jennifer's Body is an unqualified disaster of a film, at least in relation to story.  There is no character development, nor explanation of how a normal teenage girl whose best friend was the town slut took to the quirky language adopted for the voice overs (maybe that is one of the lingering aftereffects of the confrontation).  Likewise, the action is practically non-existent – though this may be a failure of director Karyn Kusama – giving the audience little to do but watch Megan Fox cycle through her various looks, depending on whether her character has eaten anyone recently.
     So much of this movie makes no sense – not even in a campy, tribute to 1980s horror films way – that one may as well watch it with the sound off.  Needy (Amanda Seyfried) is concerned that her boyfriend is going to be eaten at a high school dance, so she tells him to stay away from it.  I know when I want to know where the safety from being eaten by a creature that doesn't want to reveal it is eating people, the first place I think of is somewhere where I'm alone (and preferably in the dark).
     There is no underlying psychology at work with the characters.  The supposedly clever twist to set the events in motion has comic potential, but plays out in such a manner as make one question how there wasn't an on-set rewrite of the material.  It doesn't help that there is a truly horrible song played throughout the film as part of this set-up, a constant reminder that the viewer is being offered nothing but crap.
     Red Riding Hood (2011) may have had problems, but at least it had an interesting look.  Jennifer's Body doesn't even offer that.  It cannot even decide on its setting.  Is it a rural town?  A mountain town?  Just some far-flung suburb (which is what is suggested by the tightly packed houses on subdivided streets, houses that look to have been built in the post WWII boom) of a nameless city?  It may as well have been an alternate reality, because even the supposedly normal elements don't really relate to the real world.
     Stay away from this.  It is awful.  It is, I would imagine, more technically proficient than any film I could make, but I would like to imagine I would put a tighter story together.  (By the way, I'll do a series of posts to prove that I – at least in the past – had no idea of how to put a coherent story together.)

1 comment:

  1. I think it's a masterpiece compared to RED RIDING HOOD. I think the movie thought that by being campy it would become a cult classic, review!