Friday, November 6, 2009

Jennifer's Body ***

Director: Karyn Kusama
Cast: Megan Fox
Amanda Seyfried
Johnny Simmons
J.K. Simmons
Amy Sedaris, Adam Brody

"Jennifer's evil" says Needy (Seyfried) to her boyfriend Chip (Simmons). "I know" he replies with a bit of a "duh" look in his face.
Jennifer has been Needy's friend since infanthood ("sandbox love never dies") and in a way they compliment each other.
Needy's the geeky-with makeover potential- looking, good girl with a steady boyfriend and a curfew.
Jennifer is the hot cheerleader with a thirst for boys who pretends to be a virgin just to turn on her victims more.
People around them wonder what the hell they have in common, but as many other things in high school, the nature of their friendship remains a mystery.
Things change after a bar burns down and Jennifer's boy hunger seems to develop into actual demonic cannibalism.
Jocks turns up dead, Jennifer turns up mysteriously bloodied in the middle of the night and Needy has more slasher worthy moments than anyone would ever dream of.
Kusama's teen-thriller packs a hell of a punch and owes most of it to Diablo Cody's terrific screenplay which obviously makes an extensive use of pop culture references ("it's true! It's on the Wikipedia") but manages to outlive its otherwise temporary shelf life by contributing to the dying teen flick genre.
"Jennifer's Body" might not bring anything new to the table, in fact Cody sometimes seems to betray the very nature of her story. For example why did she have to bring it all down to good old fashioned geek vs. hot competitiveness when there's been a million more movies like that before?
But when she's on a roll the characters deliver some truly brilliant, and extremely quotable, bits of dialogue that both poke fun and exalt the adolescent life.
There is nothing really scary about the movie (even if Fox does seem like she might eat you alive to stay wrinkle free) but Cody taps into some fascinating issue circling modern life.
For one, she is unashamedly open about sex and ignores the ridiculous cliché that "smart girls" don't have sex.
When Chip coyly announces to Needy that he'll be getting condoms for their date later during the day, Cody is in fact screaming that "smart girls have sex...with protection". The film offers several moments of refreshing maturity that play out in awkwardly sweet moments.
We are also reminded of the indifference our culture has grown towards violence. As the murders increase in the town where the movie takes place, it's only a matter of time before they're seeking the next big thing ("sorrow was last week's emotion").
This trait is embodied through Jennifer who struts the halls without a care in the world, even if everything outside is collapsing.
When Needy proclaims "we had faith. We were fucking idiots" the post-Obama world seems to balance on a tightrope for a fraction of a second...
Then we're being vastly entertained by the sight of two girls in formal dresses fighting inside a pool and everything goes back to normal.

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