I skipped Jennifer’s Body during its theatrical run, even with all the photos of Megan Fox in pasties and what not making their way around the internet. Perhaps appropriate, then, that as Jennifer’s Body arrives on DVD, I’m sent a review check disc that haphazardly skips around entire chapters, rendering any viewing of it some sort of crazy Memento-type experience. I tried viewing its two different iterations (theatrical cut versus unrated) on three different players, but the problems persisted throughout, so I finally just gave up and skipped to the end, probably catching in total 85 percent of the movie, with a few bits here and there out of order, or at least spoiled by said skip-glitches.
The film’s plot centers around “plain Jane” high schooler Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and her va-voomish best friend Jennifer (Fox), a fembot-type cheerleader in the small town of Devil’s Kettle. Ditching Needy’s boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons, of Hotel for Dogs) for the evening, the pair head out to see a visiting band fronted by Nikolai (Adam Brody, sporting guy-liner and having a blast); tragedy ensues, in the form of a fire that kills many of their classmates. Needy and Jennifer are separated, and when the latter turns up, she’s possessed by a sinister demon that requires frequent blood to keep her looking fresh and beautiful. Jennifer
Playing around a bit with both horror movie conventions and the hormonal spikes and surges of its adolescent male audience, Jennifer’s Body is scripted by Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, which of course means all sorts of outrageous details (9/11 “tribute shooters” at a bar) and over-articulated sassy dialogue, wherein jealous is slangified to “Jello.” Sometimes this works, but it also leads to false/hollow exclamations (“Oh cheese fries!”) that undercut the drama within scenes, however exaggerated their construction. In general, there’s some fun here, but under the direction of Karyn Kusama (Aeon Flux) it doesn’t seem to cohere in a meaningful way, either as an all-out Heathers-style satire or a more bloody genre-fueled take on the memes of Mean Girls, in which feminine competitiveness renders tumult upon relationships.
There are bonus features galore on double-disc and Blu-ray versions of the film — supposedly including deleted scenes, a gag reel, video diaries and a Megan Fox public service announcement, among other tidbits — but the review disc I received included only the aforementioned widescreen theatrical and extended cut versions of the film. The latter has a feature-length audio commentary track with Kusama, while the former has a separate audio commentary track with both Kusama and Cody. Naturally, more fun is had with some interplay, even if Kusama’s assertion that the script is about “facile ambition, and how that’s totally evil” comes off as a bit dubious. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. C (Movie, Somewhat Speculatively) C+ (Disc)