Overlooked Movie Monday: Jennifer's Body

by Vincent Scarpa on July 19, 2010

in Columns,Overlooked Movie Monday

I wasn’t ashamed in the slightest when I called “Jennifer’s Body” one of my favorite movies of last year. You read that right.

I put it right up there with “A Single Man” and “The Road”. Surprised? So was I.

But so much of “Jennifer’s Body” worked for me, dare I say all of it, that I had to rank it pretty damn high. Now, I know what you’re thinking. My credibility is dwindling the more I write for Scene-Stealers, right? I mean, I’ve defended “Sex and the City 2″, “Coyote Ugly”, and now this? I’m telling you to give me a chance.

I’ll start off by saying that, if it were up to me, Diablo Cody would write everything. It seems that there are those who despise Cody’s writing and those who can’t get enough of it, and never the twain shall meet. I can’t help but love her writing style, and I think she’s one of the most promising young screenwriters in the industry (not to mention an Oscar winner for Best Original Screnplay).

“Juno” being her first big hit (loved it), I was taken aback when I first heard word that Cody would be writing a horror blockbuster starring Megan Fox. It didn’t add up. I thought she was comedic genius in her debut film, and in her memoir “Candy Girl”, so I was quite interested to see how that voice would take shape in a horror flick.

Well, I’ll be the first to tell you that “Jennifer’s Body” is not a horror flick. It’s still under New Releases at my Blockbuster, but I’m hoping that when it comes to categorize, they don’t relegate this one to Horror. Because guess what? It’s funny as shit. Cody is at her best in this screenplay, and in her vision of making the worlds of horror and comedy collide, in a way that is uniquely Diablo Cody’s.

The film focuses on Jennifer Check (Fox), high school cheerleader turned demonic boyeater. This transformation is the result of a Satanic sacrifice gone awry by Low Shoulder, an indie-rock band fronted by an eyelinered up Adam Brody, hoping to be the next big thing on the alternative scene.

Tell me that premise isn’t ridiculous and hysterical. The ritual called for the sacrifice of a virgin, which Jennifer hasn’t been “since Junior High”, ergo Jennifer Check turns into a possessed demon who must eat boys to maintain her good looks. Her former best friend, Needy Lesnicki (the adorable Amanda Seyfriend), my favorite movie name ever, picks up on Jennifer’s demonic ways and is on a quest to end her before her own boyfriend is sacrificed.

I know that sounds ridiculous. It is ridiculous, but Diablo Cody never treats it seriously. Whereas so many horror and slasher flicks are made with the intention to shock or scare, Cody is just trying to get a few laughs out of us. The joke is on the industry itself.

Other things that are great about “Jennifer’s Body”? Amy Sedaris as Needy’s hysterically religious mother, J.K Simmons as the one-armed biology teacher, the portrayal of the indie-rock scene, and phrases like “tragedy boner”.

Oh, and, attention straight guys: lesbianism. Rent the movie if you want to see some good girl-on-girl action between Seyfried and Fox. If you’re the type to rent a movie just for that purpose, it will absolutely be worth it. Sidenote, sorry for your life.

Vincent Scarpa

Vincent Scarpa is a graduate of Emerson College, and the recipient of the Norman Mailer Four-Year College Writing Award. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Baltimore Review, and plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing 2011.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tabitha July 19, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Yay, another positive review of my favorite movie to add to the list! Definitely an overlooked movie…Diablo is such a misunderstood genius. It’s sad.

I agree with the performances of side characters, too. Needy’s mother and “J.C” was classic. Colin Gray (Kyle Gallner’s emo/Hot-Topic-model-worthy character) was still my favorite though. Why did Megan Fox eat him! WHY! xD

Nice review though, seriously.

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2 Vincent Scarpa July 19, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Tabitha, so glad you enjoyed this one too!

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3 Will July 24, 2010 at 7:56 am

I had such high hopes for the movie, unfortunatly “Jennifer’s Body” felt more like a TV film that should have been on “ABC Family” then in theaters. Plus it didn’t seem that the film knew whether it wanted to be straight up horror or horror comedy, you can’t be both at the same time. Although Seyfried seemed to be tapping into the feel of the movie, Megan Fox was solely miscast as Jennifer.

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