(USA, 2009, 103 minutes)
Written by: Diablo Cody
Directed by: Karyn Kasuma
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Megan Fox, Adam Brody, JK Simmons
Diablo Cody’s much-anticipated follow-up to her Oscar-winning indie hit “Juno” has been salaciously previewed as homage to 80s horror films with the bodacious “It” girl Megan Fox as a succubae Freddy Krueger, but it turns out that “Jennifer’s Body” is not particularly effective or interesting as a horror film per se.
Directed with bland efficiency by Karyn Kasuma (whom no one will confuse with the second coming of John Carpenter or Wes Craven…or even Fran Rubel Kuzui for that matter), it works best when it plays up Cody’s mojo as the nought-generation’s heir to the throne of the late, great John Hughes, whose distinctive 80s works bestowed his teenage characters with a depth and dignity rarely seen in commercial cinema and whose influence has been openly acknowledged.
In truth, it may be “Jennifer’s Body” but it’s “Needy’s Movie”, Needy being the equally fetching Amanda Seyfried’s combination Molly Ringwald/Final Girl who unearths the secret behind her hottie BFF’s sudden change in behavior and diet. There are some standout moments—the fire that destroys the local roadhouse and claims the lives of several students and teachers echoes DePalma’s “Carrie” and the tragic 2003 Great White concert in Rhode Island, the fallout of trauma and mourning for students and staff is nicely observed, and the flashback to Fox’s brutal sacrifice at the hands of a vacuous, demonology-obsessed emo band is truly chilling, esp. with Adam Brody and his mates merrily crooning Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny”.
JK Simmons, Amy Sedaris, and Lance Henriksen turn in welcome cameos. True to modern day genre form, there’s plenty of gore and R-rated sex chat, but no nudity whatsoever, and I was at times irked by Cody’s brand of teenspeak jargon, which some viewers past “a certain age” will find only slightly more intelligible than Alex DeLarge’s narration in “A Clockwork Orange” (turns out if you’re “salty”, then you’re da bomb…sorry, wrong decade).
©Robert J. Lewis 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009