The Collegian
Saturday, July 04, 2020

Flicks: Jennifer's Body vs. Twilight

"Jennifer's Body" is a dark comedic response to that unwarranted fan favorite, "Twilight." It may seem romantic to watch a film about sparkly vegetarian vampires who make girls commit suicide out of infatuation, even when the main characters are about as emotionally and intellectually thin as a smear of drool. But it's way cooler, and easier on the mind, to watch a hot chick eat boys in an 80s-horror-movie style. That is your cue, if you haven't already thrown this paper down in disgust, to stop reading if you're gushy for stilted pale teenagers trying hard not to eat each other.

"Jennifer's Body" is by no means perfect - in fact it fails more often than it succeeds. Diablo Cody, the writer of "Juno," wrote this too and I expected a lot more one-liners, self-deprecation and figurative guts than she managed to give. It seems more likely that a contractual obligation, not inspiration, ruled the keyboard on this one. In short, she partially missed the mark.

The movie irreverently pokes fun at the old, dumb plots, characters and special effects of horror movies from the Jamie Lee Curtis era - when half-naked women ran around barely lit, empty neighborhoods at night, and masked men suffering from catastrophic pasts somehow managed to destroy entire high school classes, disappear and then become dark jack-in-the-boxes in our minds for years to come.

This film is only superficially like those, with minor casting shifts that shake up the old horror make-up, but it's entertaining to watch how the movie pokes fun at old scare tactics. Megan Fox is the hot girl who becomes a demon battery, recharged by young-boy flesh. Those boy snacks are all so dumb and nonfunctional that you're actually rooting for them to die. They don't quite run around like chickens with their heads cut off, but it's close. Then, of course, there is perhaps one of the most successful parallel action sequences I've ever seen in a movie. While Amanda Seyfried's character, Fox's character's best friend, has polite sex with her inept boyfriend, Fox rips another clueless boy apart. It's so uncomfortable to watch and yet so hard to look away. You grimace, you groan and then you laugh. At least, that's what the audience in my theater did. One woman even yelped.

But, the movie isn't consistently great and halfway through it forgets to stay fast-paced and relevant. It also gets too close to what it's parodying. Instead of filling the time with funny, cattier moments of terror, you see Fox wiggle her butt randomly, and then sink into "ugly," hair-falling-out depression.

That brings me back to "Twilight," an unintentional comedy about a super-duper serious staring competition. If only the two films had been combined to create a movie in which the flesh-eating characters were aware of their own superficiality and started a high-stakes game of "natural selection for townies" in their little middle-of-nowhere neighborhoods. More power to them if they could make me laugh as hard as parts of these movies did - regardless of whether they wanted me to or not. That would be a film worth seeing.

Contact staff writer Jordan Trippeer at jordan.trippeer@richmond.edu

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