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Gavin Grades The Movies

Jennifer's Body

The writer and producer of this movie, Diablo Cody, was the person behind the Oscar-winning film "Juno," and in my opinion, is a writer to be respected.  She has a great way of creating dialogue that sits in a world inbetween fantasy and reality, while keeping it very funny and thoughtful...much the same Kevin Smith used to do in the '90s.  (Sorry Kevin, you had a good run.)  But in "Jennifer's Body" that style got the tone of the movie wrong.  You can't have a movie that is a horror comedy spoofing it one second and snarky the next.  I enjoy both types but combining both in the same movie is just confusing.  A movie like "Shawn of the Dead" was a perfect horror comedy because it was a great horror movie that happened to be funny.  There are some scenes in "Jennifer's Body" that are legitimately chilling.  It's easy and satisfying to have a demonic possession movie use long-lasting images stay on a screen with no action, just to freak you out.  And the star of the film, the stunning Megan Fox, seemed like she reveled in doing that.  You can see the macabre, blood-filled smile on her face is almost indistinguishable from whether or not it's the character "Jennifer's" or Megan's.  The same blurry line of real and fictitious emotion can be said for co-star Amanda Seyfried ("Big Love," "Mamma Mia!") and her looks of being creeped out.  Both girls are really good in this.  Director Karyn Kusama is also really good, although she lets her fascination with lesbianism get the best of her with a very sensual scene between the two stars that has absolutely no purpose in the film at all (although I did enjoy watching it).  The problem for this movie comes squarely on the shoulders of Cody and her ridiculous script.  I honestly feel like giving this movie a much worse grade than I gave it just to punish it for coming so close to being a good movie and then crashing and burning as badly as it did.  There is one single scene that was the tipping scale for me.  "Jennifer's Body" had me!  I was buying all of it and enjoying most of it until the scene that explains what happened to Jennifer that was so poorly done that it just made me angry.  It wasn't funny, it wasn't scary, it wasn't good storytelling.  It was lazy and stupid.  In fact it was so stupid that I didn't even care about what happened in the rest of the film.  I sat there half concentrating on the climax of the movie, while the other half of me was still dwelling on how a good movie could go so wrong.  Pity too since you'd think someone with the first name Diablo would do a great job writing a movie about the demons. Jennifer's Body (Rated R) Gavin Grade: C


09/15/2009 9:05AM
Jennifer's Body
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