Monday, September 21, 2009

Jennifer's Body

Karyn Kusama | 2009 | 102 mins | USA

Diablo Cody's first post-Juno effort is a teen horror comedy about BFFs Jennifer (Megan Fox) and Needy (Amanda Seyfried, in a very different role from her other TIFF appearance in Chloe), two very different girls who've stuck by each other since the sandbox, but find themselves growing apart when Jennifer becomes a crazy man-eater (literally).

The two girls go to a corrugated metal shack in the woods to see an emo band (fronted by Adam Brody) play. Jennifer is mesmerized, and when the bar suddenly catches fire, she's whisked away in the band's van. Needy is a bit worried about her friend's disappearance with the unsavoury rockers, but when Jennifer returns home later that night covered in blood and vomiting up some revolting black stuff, Needy becomes understandably frantic.

Pretty soon, Jennifer's back to her old self, and Needy is left trying to convince her adorable, loving boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons) that something is terribly wrong, and that the mysterious deaths of several classmates are indeed connected to what happened at the bar that night.

Chock-full of snappy, Cody-esque one liners, Jennifer's Body is sure to be loved by Cody fans and hated by her haters, but it basically worked for me as a hip (if considerably less biting and socially incisive) homage to Heathers and the like, though a few things about it did not sit well. Casually racist jokes in the script (such as Jennifer's "get a Chinese girl to buff your situation" comment, re: Needy's messy fingernails) were unnecessary and odd, especially since the world of Jennifer's Body was almost self-consciously diverse. The dysfunctional friendship between hot-hot-Jennifer and dorky Needy also made me wonder about Cody's ability to write a female character who isn't totally effed up in some way. Love her or hate her, Cody receives more media attention than any screenwriter has in decades, so it will be interesting to see whether she has the chops to ever transcend her hipster lingo and perhaps write a film about grownups.

Though it's technically been given an R rating in the states (14A in Canada), Jennifer's Body feels like a decent PG horror film. More laughs than scares.

No comments: