I’ve been trying to stay up to date on all the new genre offerings recently and so far it has been a breeze. Today though, I walked to the theater with a heavy gallows step, for I had signed up for JENNFER’S BODY. On a personal level, both MEGAN FOX and DIABLO CODY have been so repeatedly and unwantedly jammed into my consciousness that this excursion was more like going to a police line up to identify my two rapists (“Officer, it was the one with the LOUISE BROOKS bob and the theoretically sexy one that was created in a lab to replace ANJELINA JOLIE when she gets too old or goes bonkers…sob!”) I’ll be first to admit my preexisting prejudices against the film were legion and had to be fought off like a swarm of invisible Amityville houseflies.
Surprisingly though, I didn’t hate it! The trick is to not think of it as a horror film because the horror elements are really just decorative. This is more of a black comedy like HEATHERS with a bit of THE CRAFT thrown in, so if your expectation is to be scared or thrilled you will be left high and dry. If you are like the lone old creepy man in the trench coat sitting three rows in back of me expecting titillation of some sort, well you too will be riding a bummer train. Actually if you have to resort to watching this movie for spank bank material you are not only a sad individual, but you are also not even reading this because you don’t have the Internet.
Think my writing is annoying? You should get a load of the dialogue in this film, it needs to be weeded the hell back! Smaller doses DIABLO! Man, for every semi-quotable mild chuckle inducer you have two dozen quips that would have been excised in an early draft of a GILMORE GIRLS script. You heard me, the great legacy of the G.G.’s is that cutesy wordplay and rapid banter is no longer refreshing or hip, but rather as cringe worthy and embarrassing (cringebarrassing to you CODY!) as a RACHAEL’S WEDDING toast. (Notice that random obtuse throwaway pop culture references are still hot!)
So why did I kind of like this crap? You know what, at its heart, the story is really a classic tale of a power struggle within a friendship. You got your aggressive out going gal Jennifer (FOX) and your unassuming level-headed (read: wears glasses) gal Anita aka “Needy” (AMANDA SEYFRIED). They have a real connection, almost share each other’s thoughts, and then things change as they often do in life. Jennifer’s succubus demon possession is just an excuse for her to get a little more outlandish in the bitch department. In fact, before anything supernatural takes place, she’s already trampling all over Needy and it seems their showdown was inevitable regardless.
As is usual with these yin vs. yang thrillers, there is a borderline romantic quality to the war with both parties coveting and admiring traits in the other. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that these stories are so universal because such a battle between higher and lower impulses takes place within all of us. (For the dude version check out the forgotten BAD INFLUENCE with ROB LOWE as the dark side of the coin and JAMES SPADER playing against type as a non-scumbag.) What I’m saying is that beneath the heavy handed slang porridge and beneath the awful stretchy mouth C.G.I. shit is a rather compelling story about competition among two friends, one of whom just happens to be deriving power from each guy she renders “hopeless.” Although we have a female writer and a female director, the drama is certainly not gender specific, just check out any gym or bar at last call.
So don’t expect a horror movie kids and you won’t have to go to bed on a tear-stained pillow. There’s a great scene where a bunch of woodland creatures show up to be an audience for a kill; cameos are stellar with AMY SEDARIS, CYNTHIA STEVENSON and J.K. SIMMONS; and if nothing else today is the day that I figured out that ADAM BRODY and COLIN HANKS are actually two different people; that’s not a such a bad time at the movies! The rub is JENNIFER’S BODY is certainly annoying, but it doesn’t totally Succubus! (How’s that for clever wordplay DIABLO?)
ALSO: I loved this song in the movie…