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DVD Review: Jennifer’s Body

In what year were the smash hit Juno and the mediocre Jennifer’s Body, both penned by Diablo Cody, ex-stripper turned screenwriter, written? The correct answer is 2006. Other than that, the films don’t have much in common (Juno fans, take note).

Jennifer’s Body stars Megan Fox (ask any pre- or post-pubescent boy who she is, and you’re bound to get more information than you’d ever care to know. None of it regarding her horrible acting skills, btw) as Jennifer, a Queen Bee with bite. She throws around words like “salty” (to describe a hot guy, which I believe I heard first in television’s Buffy circa 1997), and has an obligatory mousy best friend she bosses around. Said best friend, Anita “Needy” Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried), is smarter, prettier and nicer than Jennifer, but as those traits tend to not be highly valued in high school, Needy takes a backseat.

The girls live in Devil’s Kettle, a sleepy town where nothing exciting ever seems to happen. Until, that is, Jennifer wants to go see emo rock band Low Shoulder at a local club, and she drags Needy along for the ride, before promptly ditching her to ride off in the band’s scary “raper” van (on the phone, Needy later describes the year and model to be "'89 Rapist"). Rape soon becomes the least of Jennifer’s worries, as the band has devilishly sinister plans for her.

Later that night, Jennifer shows up at Needy’s house, starving and puking black bile. As Jennifer changes both in mood and appearance day to day, Needy begins to worry that Jennifer has gone beyond high school evil to evil through and through. When Jennifer starts dropping hints that she’s going to “taste” Needy’s boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons), Needy hits the library to try to find out what happened to her BFF, and in the process discovers that Jennifer’s current antics fit the profile of a virgin sacrifice that went south (as she was not a virgin), resulting in a demonic possession.

Fox seems made for the role of a bitchy mean girl, but her acting skills leave a lot to be desired (then again, I highly doubt her acting skills were taken into account when the role was cast). On the bright side, Seyfried shines in practically every role she’s given, including this one (check out Big Love, Mamma Mia! and Veronica Mars if you still don’t believe me). Jennifer’s Body also stars Adam Brody (The O.C.) as the “man-scara”-wearing, Devil-worshipping lead singer of Low Shoulder, Chris Pratt (fellow The O.C. alum), Kyle Gallner (who worked with Seyfried in both Veronica Mars and Big Love), and J.K. Simmons, Amy Sedaris and Cynthia Stevenson.

Jennifer’s Body is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, with subtitles available in English SDH and Spanish, in addition to English 5.1 and both Spanish and French 2.0 audio tracks. The film has a 102-minute run time, and is rated R for sexuality, bloody violence, language and brief drug use.

Extras include two viewing options–the Theatrical (1:42:16) cut, and the five-minute longer Extended (1:47:23). The theatrical version of the film includes optional audio commentary with director Karyn Kusama and writer Cody. On the extended version of the film, Kusama offers optional solo commentary, where she explains that the extended version more accurately reflects Cody's original script, as well as why the extra footage was not included in the theatrical version.

In typical Cody fashion, phrases like “shutties” (for shut up), “freaktarded” (for crazy), and “lesbigay” (for lesbian) are bantered about. But in the end, Jennifer’s Body is a Heathers wannabe, with a little Mean Girls thrown in. While it does a good job of depicting that “hell is a teenage girl”, the fact that it’s neither particularly scary nor funny just makes it another in a long list of mediocre films about teenagers.

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  • http://www.filmcalamity.com Jonathan Sullivan

    Just reading those snippets of the movie dialogue made my skin crawl. Cody won an Oscar why?