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"Jennifer's Body" (Blu-ray)
Wayne Klein
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date:
Special Features:

2 commentary tracks, rated and unrated versions of the movie (the latter runs about 5 minutes longer), trailers


Demons sure have a large appetite. Oh, and they like sex or at least the idea of sex. “Jennifer’s Body” writer Diablo Cody’s latest film (“Juno” and the Showtime TV show “The United States of Tara”)mixes titillation, murder and cannibalism in a satirical style that recalls her work in “Juno” but actually harks back to an earlier flick about cliques and werewolves “Ginger Snaps” one of the few werewolf movies in the last thirty years to bring something new to the table) in terms of its “spirit”. ***

Jennifer (“Transformers” Megan Fox) ends up being the sacrificial virgin killed by a rock band Low Shoulder who use Satan to further their career. The only problem is that she isn’t a virgin and that complicates things meaning that the Succubus spirit they were trying to use to make their career fly high takes bonds with Jennifer’s spirit bringing her back to life. Zombie Jennifer (so-to-speak) needs regular infusions of blood and human flesh to look her best this, of course, concerns her BFFL “Needy” (Amanda Seyfried of “Mama Mia”); it also makes Needy’s boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons who, perhaps, because of his mullet haircut looks much younger than both of them) believe his girlfriend has gone off the deep end. ***

All of the dialogue driven cynical humor that was a highlight of “Juno” slips through the cracks of the supernatural script here as well but they fall surprisingly flat. Although Cody’s approach to the material is unique, the dialogue seems like a third-rate knock-off done by somebody else. Director Karyn Kusama does the best she can in setting up the film but only manages to get predictable and often stiff performances from her cast. Her directorial approach is fairly static servicing the story but there isn’t much story here; Jennifer gets hungry, takes out a boy for munchies and munches on the boy until the next time. The element of satire here isn’t explored which is a surprise given the rich environment of high school. Perhaps Cody avoided exploring this arena because it has been done so well in films like “Heathers”, “Mean Girls” and “Ginger Snaps”. Perhaps she felt she couldn’t bring anything new to the material either way the one area that might have redeemed the weakness of the dialogue and the performances is missed. ---

Image & Sound:

Unfortunately we received a watermarked DVD-R screener copy to review so I had to wait for release date to get this on Blu-ray and give you an idea as to how the film looks and sounds. My apologies for this being so late but I didn’t want to review yet another lame Fox screener and tell you that you’d have to take your own risk on the quality. ***

The Blu-ray looks extremely good with a nice, vibrant transfer that pops especially during many of the night scenes (and there are plenty of those) with detail and clarity. Flesh tones are strong throughout. ***

Audio sounds quite good with an extremely sharp 5.1 mix that favors dialogue throughout most of the movie but we get plenty of ambient sounds as well. ---

Special Features:

Aside from the two commentary tracks included one with the original theatrical version of the film with Kusama and Cody and the other for the extended track featuring Kusama alone, we get trailers for other Fox releases. ***

The better of the two commentary tracks is the one involving Kusama and Cody who work well together. Cody admits that she “borrowed” quite a bit from “Rosemary’s Baby”. They also focus primarily on the little details like Jennifer’s transformation scene early in the movie, the meaning of what we see and other details that might otherwise be considered background information that the audience normally wouldn’t notice. ---

Final Words:

This is one of those horror/comedy films that fails to deliver on the promise of the premise; Cody’s talent as a writer is pretty evident in her first feature “Juno” and enough of that talent is on display in her TV show “The United States of Tara” to realize that her feature debut wasn’t a fluke. “Jennifer’s Body” strikes me as something that seemed like a good idea at the time and that, perhaps, had been compromised by the success and expectations set up by “Juno”. It’s not a very good movie but it isn’t necessarily a bad movie. Cody and Kusama’s decision to include some girl-on-girl action and groping seems like a desperate attempt to hold on to an audience that was probably losing interest after the creepy transformation scene involving Jennifer and is questionable as well. If you must see “Jennifer’s Body” be aware you won’t see much you haven’t seen done better before.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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