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Body Parts and Dialogue Chunks: Teenage girl power gore dies early in Jennifer's Body 

Teenage girl power gore romp dies early

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The first line of Jennifer's Body is, "Hell is a teenage girl." Let me rephrase: "Hell is enduring a teenage girl/demonic possession movie written by Diablo Cody."

The film features the same producers as Juno, but brings into the fold director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) and it seems this group is slapping themselves on the back for how clever they think they are. Suffocating from Cody's overly wordy and relentlessly self-conscious narrative, this flick is an exercise in extreme futility. It's OK if one character talks like a wiseacre (as in Juno) but when every character has essentially the same smart-aleck voice, it rings untrue and loses its punch. Real people do not talk this way... ever.

The story goes as follows: Reserved bookworm Anita "Needy" (Amanda Seyfried), and conceited sexpot cheerleader Jennifer (Megan Fox), sharing little in common, are best friends since sandbox days. Following a disastrous fire at a local bar, Jennifer mysteriously gains an appetite for human flesh and begins to devour the bloody entrails of guys who never stood a chance with her. After the school's male population dwindles, Needy discovers that a demon had taken possession of Jennifer through a satanic sacrifice and vows to stop the blood-thirsty rampage either by releasing the demon or by killing Jennifer... a tough choice for a high school kid.

The obvious metaphor about a teenager's insatiable urges is just too witty and cynical for its own good. All "taking you out of the movie" moments for hilarity were exempt of humor and devoid of comedic value. Some of the one-liners were followed by another line added to emphasize the first, and a third line in case you didn't get it or still think it's funny. There are even pauses in dialogue for the audience to laugh, during which not one person in the theater did, once... ever... at all. It seems the writer and director were aspiring to be so clever that audiences would swoon and garner immediate cult status, envisioning the waiting lines outside for Jennifer's midnight showing. At least there's decent gore.

Outlandish attempts are made at intercutting scenes. Director Kusama lingers too long on each scene and doesn't build one iota of tension between the cross-cutting of a sex scene and a kill scene. The weird delivery of lines can be blamed on the director, but the main culprit is the writer. There is literally no excuse for this style of writing. The actors are fun to watch and do their best amidst wretched cinematic timing. Fox (Transformers) actually played innocent teenager better than hot-chick-slut and Seyfried (Mean Girls/Big Love) handled all her moments with cool believability.

The terminally clever dialogue of this movie might actually make a great play or musical, giving the actors time to wink at the audience, telegraphing the laughs and showcasing all the clever fun to be had in a high-school-slut-turned-killer romp.

Missing a chance to join the ranks of good yet also funny horror flicks (Slither/Tremors) or some that contain female wit and wisdom surrounding girl problems (Ginger Snaps), Jennifer's Body falls more into the Airplane/Scary Movie category in which jokes are hand delivered or thrown into your face, becoming an exercise in "how-much-stupid-can-you-take." In this case I couldn't take it for another second after the first 10 minutes. After viewing Halloween 2 and Sorority Row, I thought "third time might be a charm," but this is the worst one out of the three. JB is too full of itself, backfiring itself into vapidity.

Jennifer's Body ★✩✩✩✩

Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody

Directed by Karyn Kusama.


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