Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jennifer's Body

Genre: Teen Horror
Synopsis: A high school cheerleader becomes a flesh-eating spawn of the devil.
About: This is the much talked about follow-up to Diablo Cody's Oscar winning screenplay, Juno. Megan Fox to star. Coming out in September of this year.
Writer: Diablo Cody

Diablo's Body

There's a real temptation here to tear this to pieces. There's a temptation to lol at the sound bytes of dialogue that are way too cute to be uttered by any human being, regardless of age. There's a temptation to call Diablo Cody's career a sham, based on her decision to to do what every other wanna-be celebrity does to get famous: take off their clothes. But one thing is very clear: Diablo Cody is making millions of dollars writing screenplays. I am not. Well, not yet anyway. The point is, she's clearly doing something right. For that reason, I'm going to pretend that I never saw the first 30 minutes of Juno, that I never heard the phrases "You're preggo with my eggo" or "Oh my blog", and I'm going to do what nobody in this world has been able to do since Juno was released. I'm going to judge Diablo Cody's screenplay objectively.

See here's something I've got to give Diablo credit for. Cause when I first heard this was going to be her follow-up to Juno I thought, "You're stupid." But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how genius it was. Horror gets bad reviews no matter what. Doesn't matter if Sucksy McSuckums writes it or Quentin Tarantino. Critics bash horror. So by writing a horror film, you effectively exonerate yourself from criticism. Cause when the bad reviews come in you can simply throw up your arms and say, "What I am supposed to do?? Critics hate horror." And thus Diablo Cody doesn't have the pressure of following up an Oscar effort. Although I don't particularly like Diablo's writing style, I admit she's one smart chicky.

Enough of this shit. Let's talk about Jennifer's body. Now as some of you may know by now, Jennifer is being played by super-douche Donna's boyfriend from the old 90210's current ex-girlfriend Megan Fox. Jennifer is your typical perfect high school cheerleader princess. She's got the body, she's got the face, and she's got the attitude. So it's a little confusing why her best friend is Needy, the artsy girl who works at the school paper (no not "needy", but her actual name is Needy, for real). A little bit of a stretch there but since it's early on in the script, you go with it.

Jennifer's clearly in control of the relationship. It's Thora Birch - Mena Suarvi Bff-ship in American Beauty territory. So when Jennifer informs a busy Needy that she has to come with her to see this new totally blog-like Emo band, Needy reluctantly agrees. Well not even 2 minutes into their first set, the club catches fire and nearly everybody dies. Except for Needy, Jennifer and the band (clearly inspired by the Great White fire that killed all those people in the Rhode Island club a few years back).

The emo band invites Jennifer along for an after-party to which, despite dozens of people just dying, she accepts. And after that night, Jennifer is never the same. Mainly because she's possessed by the devil and needs to feed on able-bodied male teenagers to get through the day.

This is going to surprise some of you but I didn't think Jennifer's Body was that bad. It was silly but Diablo isn't aiming for greatness here. I would say that there were a few times that the Jennifer character seemed to enjoy the act of dismembering boys a little too much - to the point where I'd be a teensy bit scared to meet Cody in an alley - but it was still funny.

There are Diablo-isms that will definitely test the patience of non-fans. For example, instead of a character saying "You're jealous" they'll say "You're jello." And if you say you're not jello they'll counter with, "Yes you are! You're key lime green jello!" Personally I plan on never using the word jello again because of this and I would recommend to the people at Webster's Dictionary that they remove the word "jello" so that Diablo can never use it again either. But what are you gonna do? It started with a chair.

Another curiosity I found was that whenever Jennifer killed someone, Needy became Obi-Wan Kenobi. She would have to sit down and take a moment to process a "terrible feeling." I mean I know these two are besties but does that mean they also have The Force?

Hey look, I admit it, I thought the first 30 minutes of Juno were shit. But I look forward to Cody's EW column every week. And as many of you have pointed out, exposure for any writer is a good thing. I sorta kinda didn't mind Jennifer's Body. It was somewhat not-unlikeable.

[ ] trash
[ ] barely kept my interest
[x] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned from Jennifer's Body: So towards the end of the movie, the story becomes about Jennifer seducing Needy's boyfriend, Chip, who she obviously wants to kill. Needy starts to sense this, of course, and must delicately persuade Chip to avoid Jennifer, all the while not being able to tell him that she's a flesh eating satan-beast. It works but not nearly as well as it could have. Why? Because Needy didn't love Chip. She *says* she does late in the script. But everything Cody's shown us up to that point suggests that Chip is a big teenage sex-hungry oaf and played him for laughs. But those laughs came at the expense of us really caring about the final outcome. If we knew that Chip and Needy were desperately in love Romeo and Juliet style, do you know how powerful that final act could've been? How terrified we would be of Jennifer stealing away and killing Needy's soul mate? That would've made for great drama. As of now, it still works, but just barely. We don't really care if Chip is killed. Are a few laughs during the screenplay worth that? That's up to you to decide.