Jennifer’s Body

“It smells like Thai food in here.  Have you two been fucking?”

That’s just one example of screenwriter Diablo Cody’s whip-crack wit, evident in nearly every frame of Jennifer’s Body, a shockingly fun horror movie that will, I’m predicting, become an underrated genre classic.

Megan Fox, showing the first signs of a talented actress here, plays the titular Jennifer, a walking sex bomb ready to explode all over every boy in high school (or is it vice-versa?). Jennifer takes off one night with a local rock band, after the bar they play at burns to the ground.  The band has dubious motives, at best, and…well, never mind. What’s important is that Jennifer shows up on the doorstep of her dorky BFF, Needy (Amanda Seyfried, far too pretty in real life to be the 2AM drunken take home girl), bloodied from head to toe and….changed, somehow. Soon, Jennifer is literally devouring every naive high school boy she can get her hands and teeth on–including Needy’s equally dorky boyfriend, Chip (yes, Chip).  There’s plenty of gore here to satisfy even the most hardcore horror buffs (myself included), as well as a little lesbian action that should make the straight guys stand up and take notice (ahem).

It would be easy to talk about the subtext of high school girl jealousy, loss of virginity, the flowering from sandbox nostalgia to womanhood. Easy, yes.  But I prefer to stay on the surface with this one, and mire in Cody’s hip, relevant text-generation speak (so evident in her terrific Juno) that trips off the lips of capable actors as easily as anything Tarantinian.

Wait.  Did I just say that?  Don’t get me wrong: I’m certainly not comparing Cody to Tarantino.  Or am I?  I don’t know, actually. Both have a strong verbal wit and the ability to thread together fun narratives.  Cody’s writing skews closer to high school angst, of course, and I don’t know yet if she has the skill–no, not skill; that isn’t right.  I don’t know yet if she has the intricacy and naturalness of Tarantino; the madness or willingness to take uncalculated risks.

Ok, so maybe they aren’t exactly on a level playing field.  But Cody’s a damned good writer, and I think, given time, she’ll be a formidable force in the film industry.  Who knows?  Maybe she’s learning a thing or two from Tarantino, himself.

2009; starring Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried; directed by Karyn Kusama; 102 min; R; in English.