— by ALEXA MILAN —
Since I loved “Juno” so much, I had high expectations for “Jennifer’s Body,” the sophomore film from Oscar-winning writer Diablo Cody. Perhaps I set the bar too high though, because what I expected to be a sharp horror comedy was nothing but a bloody disappointment.
“Jennifer’s Body” revolves around the friendship between popular Jennifer (Megan Fox) and nerdy Needy (Amanda Seyfried). When the girls go to the local bar to see the famous band Low Shoulder, tragedy strikes as a fire burns down the bar and kills several high school students.
Amid the chaos, the band’s lead singer, Nikolai (Adam Brody), pursuades Jennifer to escape with him and the band.
When Jennifer shows up at Needy’s house later that night covered in blood and vomiting black tar, it’s clear that something supernatural is happening.
As the community grieves for those lost in the fire, Jennifer begins satisfying her new-found hunger for flesh by killing and eating the boys in her class.
As Needy begins to piece together what happened to Jennifer the night of the fire, she must try to stop her friend from murdering more of their classmates while even Needy’s boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons) doesn’t believe her claims that Jennfer is demonic.
I know “Juno” is a love it or hate it movie for most people, but I found that film refreshingly sharp and witty with a lot of heart and spunk.
I get what Cody was trying to do here. Combining the plucky humor of “Juno” with the teen horror genre is an interesting idea, but “Jennifer’s Body” fails in its execution.
Cody’s trademark quirky style and hipster dialogue worked well for “Juno,” but here it seems forced and stale. It’s hard to believe this script is a product of the same woman who won an Oscar a couple of years ago. But even after “Jennifer’s Body,” I don’t think Cody is a one-trick pony. I think she has talent, but she should stick to the types of comedies and dramedies that are more conducive to her unique style.
Karyn Kusama’s directing is decent but not particularly memorale. Most of the acting is mediocre at best. Though Fox is ever so slightly better in this role than in “Transformers,” she really serves as nothing more than a teen boy sexual fantasy in this role. If Fox wants to be taken seriously as an actress, she needs to take a page from the book of Angelina Jolie and push herself beyond her sex symbol status.
J.K. Simmons and Amy Sedaris are funny in their small roles, and Brody does a solid job as Nikolai. But the one real standout of the film is Seyfried. She broke out in last year’s “Mamma Mia,” and even in a dud like this she still shows a lot of promise. Seyfriend makes Needy the only character in the film that feels believable. While Fox’s performance is mostly flat and monotonous, Seyfried manages to bring some emotion and intrigue to her character. Her Needy is a heroine you want to root for.
Despite having a script that doesn’t always flow well, lackluster directing and mostly uninspired performances, “Jennifer’s Body” isn’t the worst horror movie I’ve seen. There are a few memorable one-line zingers and a handful of suspenseful moments. But overall, “Jennifer’s Body” is a bloody mess, and not in the way a horror comedy should be.
Follow Alexa Milan on Twitter at http://twitter.com/alexamilan.