Don’t Be Jelly: An SML Review of “Jennifer’s Body”

From the Oscar-winning mind behind Juno comes the touching story of a demon cheerleader and the best friend who swears revenge for eating her boyfriend!

 

Don’t Be Jelly: An SML Review of “Jennifer’s Body”I have to admit: When it came out in 2009, I didn’t think Jennifer’s Body was my thing. I was just far enough removed from high school then to be put off by cliched campus-bound storylines. And the previous year’s Transformers film didn’t open me up to be a Megan Fox fan.

But eight years later, it seems like Tumblr still can’t get enough of the movie. And after playing opposite Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson in New Girl’s most recent season, I have a new appreciation for Fox’s straight-faced comedic timing.

In short, it was time to give Jennifer’s Body a try.

The movie starts off with all the tropes you love about high school movies: The hot cheerleader. The geeky friend. The goofy-but-not-too-goofy boyfriend. And there are jocks and goths and a token teacher and largely absent parental figures (mostly moms). But writer Diablo Cody inserts her unique twists on the tropes to build a story that falls just short of something really special.

Geeky, bespectacled Anita “Needy” Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried) is best friends with Jennifer (Megan Fox), head cheerleader of Devil’s Kettle High School, a school in a town so small that the cheerleaders also run color guard. When Jennifer asks (demands, really) that Needy go out with her to see a band, Needy is more than happy to oblige. Led by Adam Brody as the least Eastern European Nikolai you’ve ever seen, Low Shoulder is in town to “reach out to our fans in the shitty areas, too.”

Somehow, the late-2000s emo rock boy band manages to burn down the house. Literally. The roadside bar burns down—and very quickly, at that. In her state of shock, Jennifer stumbles into the band’s van, even as Needy protests, and rides off to meet her doom.

You’d think that would be an exaggeration, but that’s pretty much how it goes. Her exposition of the night is a great scene.

Jennifer doesn’t die though—or, at least, her blood-smeared body makes its way back to Needy’s house to destroy a Boston Market rotisserie chicken. Needy is shocked by the whole evening, but Jennifer is better than back to normal the next day. Then the boys begin dying. Terrible, bloody, zombie-massacre-style deaths.

Because of the beginning narration, you know exactly where the movie is going, but it’s the journey that makes it worth the ride. The film isn’t as groundbreaking as United States of Tara, nor is it the indie darling that was Juno. But it’s brutal (especially in terms of high school shade), it’s funny, it’s clever, and it’s chock full of exaggerated late 90s teen slang. (Warning: you will want to tell someone they’re jelly at work the next day. Don’t do it.) A little more work, and it could have been among the really great horror comedies.

Even if insecure killer teenaged demons created by bumbling bro Satanists aren’t your thing, the film is worth watching for the cameos. I imagine that Jennifer’s Body was cast just at the height of Juno’s popularity, so there are some great actors who signed on to be part of Diablo Cody’s next hit, including JK Simmons, Amy Sedaris, and Star-Lord himself.

Check it out right now in Asheville on Orbit DVD’s current “Movies about Fake Bands” wall. Or buy it now on Amazon Instant Video.

Sarah G

What do you get when you cross a horror movie with a pile of books? She’s not always sure, but Sarah G is always there to find the connection. In the process, she has helped found a local nonprofit, started a satirical holiday, ticked off celebrities, and tried to purchase the lunar surface.

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