The Night Out: Jennifer’s Body (2009), or This Movie Is Only IRONICALLY Cringe-Worthy

21 09 2009

Hello, all. I just saw Jennifer’s Body, the most recent excuse for Megan Fox to get into not a lot of clothes, and I have to say that while I didn’t know what to expect from this horror-comedy by the producer and writer of Juno, I was utterly shocked and appalled by the state of the dialog. Jesus titty-fucking Christ, I haven’t hung my head this low in a movie theater since I saw The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. It was undoubtedly some of the worst character repartee I’ve ever witnessed, and it has the added sting of feigning hipness and alleging insight into the jaded youth of 2009. What it offers is nothing of the sort, and while I refuse to completely dismiss writer Diablo Cody as a redeemable talent, it seems as if most people have already done that anyways. And it’s not like I can blame them, after watching this film.

Jennifer’s Body, whose very name is a hipster reference to girl-grunge band Hole, is about a girl named Jennifer and her best friend Anita. Jennifer is the hot girl in high school, and Anita is the “plain” best bud who has known her since they were kids. Jennifer, one night, takes her friend out to a shit-kicker bar, the only bar in the tiny backwoods town they live in, to see an indie band (???) who is inexplicably playing there. Midway through the set, the tiny bar catches on fire, injuring and killing a number of the simple townsfolk. The girls make it out all right, and so do the band, who asks the sexy Jennifer to get in their van with them to get away from the horror of the situation. She agrees, leaving her friend behind in the wreckage of the bar to worry about her. Anita goes home, worried sick about her friend and depressed about all the people who were killed in the fire, when Jennifer appears to her in her house, bloody and filthy, acting strangely. She won’t talk about what happened with the band, instead opting to throw up a strange black fluid, push Anita around for a moment with a hideous strength, and leave. Anita is terrified for her friend, knowing something awful has happened to her, but also soon becomes terrified of her. After that night at the bar, Jennifer has become a different person; she’s colder, more distant, and completely indifferent to the town’s suffering. And once the bodies of young men from her and Jennifer’s high school start popping up everywhere, Anita begins to wonder just what happened to her friend, and if she might be involved in the grisly murders somehow…

An interesting concept. Diablo Cody works in intriguing concepts that are at once relatable and unknowable. Juno, her previous screenplay, was about the joys and pains of an unexpected pregnancy, as well as the impossible decision involved in giving up a child. It was well-paced and emotionally genuine, something a lot of people picked up on in 2007. Today’s feature has similar moments of high-school wisdom, tidbits of teen life that are unusually perceptive and imaginative. I especially like the dynamics involved with the “pretty girl” and “plain girl” friendship of Jennifer and Anita. Jennifer’s demands taking precedence over Anita’s wants, Anita’s insistence that they have so much in common despite the fact that they don’t, and the unspoken things that pass between the two of them; there is something about their relationship on-screen that creates an aura of believability that I enjoyed.

An aura that is instantly shattered the moment the characters start bantering. Diablo Cody has some sort of hipster Tourette’s, and it sabotages the good work she does and damns what little regard most people have for her all the way to the ninth circle. She is generally regarded around the internet for being the safety scissors of the sharp dialog supply closet. It stems from this underlying struggle to be hipper-than-thou, some sort of indie culture savant-ism that insists upon itself in the worst way imaginable. Try to imagine how the guys in Fall Out Boy talk to each other on-camera; it’s fast, it’s irreverent, it’s full of trendy, ironic references. And Megan Fox is given most, if not all, of it to mouth. Some examples:

Jennifer: It smells like Thai food in here. Have you guys been fucking? (???)


Jennifer: You need a mani bad. You should find a Chinese chick to buff your situation. (?!?!?!)


Jennifer (in reference to being turned on by a fellow): You’re giving me a wetty…  (ewwww…)


And my personal favorite, after Jennifer gets stabbed in the chest:
Jennifer: Do you have a tampon? Thought I’d ask, you look like you’d be plugging. (HUH????)

Megan Fox plays the main character of Jennifer the way she plays every role; like she’s a sex-doll carved out of mahogany. She has a wooden delivery, a lame physical and facial range of emotions, and an incredibly weak personality. Some people might say that her looks carry her through this movie, but that’s assuming anyone can look past the train wreck on display here to even notice. And, for the record, she’s not all that, America. She really isn’t. Hell, after watching her in this, I might have lost the ability to find her even remotely attractive. It’s that bad. Amanda Seyfried tries so hard to sell it here as Anita. You can see it in her face; she wants to do a good job, but it’s not working out and you can see it kind of crush her a little. I have no ill will towards her, but she should really have looked into this a bit more before starring in a movie this embarrassing.

Jennifer’s Body is one of those movies that will be looked on and laughed at in later generations as being hideously and irrevocably tied to an era. Xanadu is totally tied to the 70s, Valley Girl is totally tied to the 80s, Singles is totally tied to the 90s, and we will always look back at this movie and go, “Oh, man, did people really talk like that back then in ’09? Holy Santa Christ!” And it will also be remembered for its soundtrack which might be marginally better than the movie itself, featuring tracks from Panic at the Disco, Cobra Starship, All Time Low, and Black Kids. It will also be looked upon as a cute epochal gem, but nobody will remember it as a real endeavor five years from now. As for Jennifer’s Body, it had potential, but its impetus became its inevitable destruction, because, and I mean this with all due respect, listening to Diablo Cody dialog might have made me a worse human being, and I will never forgive this movie for that. I give Jennifer’s Body 3 wetties out of 10, as well as a big thumbs-down from Bren, who will be more than happy to tell you how she feels about this movie at length if you ask her!

Tomorrow I promise I’ll review Duel! I promise!!!!