Sunday, 8 November 2009

REVIEW: Jennifer's Body

When you review stuff on a regular basis, you begin to notice patterns in your own bias. Personally, I've found that I'm much likely to be kinder to a film that tries to be different and fails, rather then a film that plays safe ground and half-succeeds. Strictly speaking this is probably bad form, given that these latter films may be better executed, more coherent and more accomplished as films, but for me ambition is something you never can get enough of in movies even if its in a less then polished body. Such is the case with Jennifer's Body, which on the face of it had a relatively interesting dynamic, with women both in the roles of hero and monster, while all the no mark dying was done by the boys. Exploring the high school horror movie from an entirely female perspective, a viewpoint shockingly under-seen in cinema on the whole, with a little Heathers-lite teenage black comedy thrown in could have been a great little movie. But under the weight of often misguided direction, way too many lapses in logic and a vacant leading lady, it becomes a 'What if' kind of movie, in which you can sort of enjoy what it is but infinitely prefer what it could have been.

The plot, sees the since pre-school best friends, reluctant every girl Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and super-hot Jennifer (Megan Fox) who kind of defines herself by her looks, allowing us men to feel a lot less misogynistic by for doing the same. Anyways, once Jennifer gets turned into a demon following some hijinks involving an evil indie rock band, its up to Needy to stop Jennifer from decimating her town's teen male population. So the whole Megan Fox thing. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to call this her best performance ever, but in comparison to two Transformers movies and a cameo in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People this is less of a compliment then it would seem. Its not a total crash and burn for her, and she has maybe one or two moments that except from what is a largely awkward performance. But she needed to really nail this role, if she wanted to be something more then stratospheric sex-object to fans of Michael Bay movies. She certainly looks the part though, and at least one of her kills was semi-affecting. As far as acting goes, Amanda Seyfried does quite well in the straight girl role, better then expected to be honest given how ineffectual she is on Big Love. But the film kind of gets stolen by Adam Brody, or Seth Cohen from the OC as he's known to most of the world. His character is basically an evil Brandon Flowers, and he has a lot of fun with it and so do we. Johnny Simmons as Seyfried's boyfriend is a bit of a misfire, as is the usually stellar J.K Simmons as a broadly drawn teacher. Diablo Cody's script is not perfect though, and although it has flourishes here and there its quite erratic and unfocused. And to be honest, there a few less zingers this time too. Although the exchange ' What Van did he leave in? - 'I don't know, an '89 Rapist.' did make me laugh.

This goes down as an interesting failure then, but in comparison to most conveyor belt horror movies that get released its looks slightly less so.

Rating: 6/10

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