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Fred Stares at Jennifer's Body

Published September 17, 2009 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Fox Atomic
Jennifer's Body PosterJennifer's Body
Jennifer's Body doesn’t all work, but I really like the parts that do. I would say it’s strongest as a dangerously sexy thriller. It still kind of works as a gory horror movie. It’s actually the humor I felt was the most uneven.

Review: Jennifer's Body

Starting out with Amanda Seyfried kicking someone in the face is good. She’s badass. Megan Fox can spin a flag, chew a necklace purse her lips, cock her head, or even just walk. This isn’t me going ga ga. She’s not really my type but I appreciate how she uses her instrument to convey this character. She can be sexy, scary, evil or gross whenever she wants.

The film really loves its heroines. They’re shot with really interesting wide shots and lingering takes. It makes them really sexy. You know you’re not going to see the parts you want, but the buildup and the teasing keeps you enthralled. It even portrays bad teen sex in a clever way.

The story is a metaphor. The point about getting into a van with bad men is taken, only it doesn’t work out as tragically as it would in real life. The villains have modern motivations for traditional evils, and the cliché of looking up occult information plays out in a modern context. Touting virginity as virtue actually leaves the character worse off. It addresses Hollywood beauty and the “ugly” look. The overtly evil douchebag is really funny too.

I don’t think it needed to have a voiceover or flash back and forth out of order. The big expository reveal would have been funnier and made more of the film funnier if it had just come in the first act. The framing device is okay but the narrator is distracting because she tells us things that we clearly see, and with no entertainment or insight.

The Juno-esque dialogue actually feels out of place here. The point about high school evil and changes in friendships is taken without sprucing up the basic language. Or maybe the reference just aren’t as sharp, because saying “cheese and fries” or “lime green jello” isn’t enough just because they sound like the words the characters really mean. It’s not a huge detriment but every time one of the quips doesn’t land, it reminds you that they could have just left well enough alone.

It’s good though. I actually wish there was more cool killing. Damn those characters and story. It works though. This is one of those classy thrillers that are actually about something. The other guys do the frivolous kill fests.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Fox Atomic

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