Trying to double her luck, Oscar winning screenwriter Diablo Cody is back with “Jennifer’s Body,” her own version of high school horror. Although Cody uses that same hipster, sarcastic dialogue that made “Juno” such a hit, this time around it feels too expected and a little forced.
Jennifer Check (Fox) is the quintessential popular high school student. She’s a cheerleader, beautiful and the desire of every boy (and some girls) at school. Tagging along is Jennifer’s best friend, the mousy, quiet Needy Lesnicky (Seyfried). Although the pair may seem unlikely, they are self-declared friends for life and share everything together. When Low Shoulder, Jennifer’s favorite band, comes to town, she drags Needy with her to a local dive bar to watch them play. Things go horribly wrong, though, when the bar is “accidentally” set on fire. Barely escaping with their lives, Jennifer leaves Needy to go party with the band. When Jennifer returns there is something wrong with her, aside from being more of a bitch than usual. She is suddenly able to instantly heal herself and is impervious to pain. But in order to keep her strength and powers, Jennifer must feed on the bodies of teenage boys. Needy, hip to Jennifer’s evil ways, sets out to stop her before it’s too late.
While her acting may be sub-par, Megan Fox will surely pull people under her spell with her demonic sex appeal. Amanda Seyfried portrays her character with a nice amount of insecurity peppered with just a pinch of under the surface confidence and sensuality. Although she was only on screen for a minute, the best performance would go to Amy Sedaris, who somehow manages to be funny even she’s playing it straight. Adam Brody is, surprisingly, a welcome addition
as an agent of Satan and Low Shoulder’s front man.
Once again, Diablo Cody has stamped the screenplay with her own unique blend of dialogue and humor, although it doesn’t work as well as it did in “Juno.” Cody seems to think she can simply change the genre and the dialogue will still work. It’s as if each line is a metaphorical nudge in the ribs by Cody reminding us that since most of us loved it in “Juno” we should feel the same way here, but that’s not entirely the case. I’d be remiss to say there weren’t a few good one-liners, but for the most part we’ve heard these same jokes before.
While “Jennifer’s Body” has been advertised as a horror film, its aim is more for comedy than it is for scares, which it just barely achieves, which is actually one of its flaws. If there’s one thing I’d like to see Cody write it’s a hardcore horror film, with limited amounts of horror.
If there’s one interesting aspect about “Body” it’s the way we can view the film as being about the high school experience in general. It’s rather easy to see Jennifer as the person who had it all during those four years and used anyone she could to get ahead and get what she wanted. With a name like Needy, it’s obvious to see why she would want to be friends with Jennifer. But perhaps that’s going a bit too deep for a film that depicts Jennifer asking for a tampon to stick in a gaping wound.
Although it sure didn’t break any box office records and most reviews have not been kind, Cody’s latest film, while not the witty powerhouse that “Juno” was, offers up a fun, mildly scary and occasionally funny look at the horrors of high school when you’re possessed by a demon.