Review: Jennifer's Body -- Cute Dialogue, Less Filling

"I could see Jennifer's Body working for you on a slower Friday night."

It's almost as if no one knows what to do with Megan Fox. They eye her appraisingly, think to themselves "Hmm ... well, there is something there" and then hand her a script. They hope for the best. They release a vapid and directionless film. Someone else stumbles upon a photo of her. "Hmm ... well, there is something there," they think. The cycle of abuse continues.

Megan Fox is the Jennifer of Jennifer's Body, a gal who has a bad night and ends up possessed by Satan. We've all been there. Her "bestie" is portrayed by a dulled down Amanda Seyfried, an actor who could end up being one of the best in her generation. There are boys, and high school drama, and plenty of nods to horror as a genre. Screenwriter Diablo Cody engages in her normal verbal gymnastics, morphing words and creating catchphrases out of thin air. It worked fairly well in Juno, under the steady hand of Ellen Page ... it works less so here, though it's not clear if the fault lays with the script, the directing, or the acting. I guess there's enough blame to go around?

Jennifer's Body is, at the core, a pretty silly film. Scary? No, not so much. And seemingly it doesn't even intend to be, though measuring intent is notoriously difficult. It's more of a quasi-horror, slightly Heathers-like delving into the female frenemy dynamic. I think Jennifer's Body is one big ol' metaphor for the turbulent nature of sexual competition between buddies, but I could be way off. It's happened before.

Where Jennifer's Body excels is those little moments of fun between Seyfried and Fox. Cody's dialogue forces you to pay attention, even when the "action" and pacing are pushing you into a stupor. Watching Megan Fox deliver Diablo Cody's lines is a bit like watching a Hybrid engine being lowered into a '64 Mustang. You know something is going to happen, you know it could be interesting, you're just not sure if it's going to work out. To complete this crazy mixed metaphor I'll opine that the film never really fires on all cylinders.

I could see Jennifer's Body working for you on a slower Friday night. I could even see it becoming a cultish favorite, the sparkling and dynamic dialogue lending itself well to a few martinis and good friends. What I can't see is believing this is an effective work of film. It's not. It's not a scary horror, nor is it a dark enough comedy. It's a little bit of both, a zombie of the dreaded middle, a likely victim of too many cooks in the kitchen.

Grade: C

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