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THIS REVIEW DEALS WITH GRAPHIC VIOLENCE AND GRAPHIC SEXUAL CONTENT. IT IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN.

MPAA Rating
Credits
Genre
Comedy, Horror, Drama, Mystery/Suspense
Cast
Megan Fox as Jennifer; Amanda Seyfried as Needy; Johnny Simmons as Chip; Adam Brody as Nikolai; Kyle Gallner as Colin Gray
Director
Karyn Kusama (Aeon Flux)
Distributor
20th Century Fox
In Theaters
September 18, 2009
On Video
December 29, 2009
Reviewer
Bob Hoose
Jennifer's Body

Jennifer's Body

Jennifer's a pretty homecoming queen who's known to be a real man-eater. Seriously. She really does eat them.

Needy is something of an average teen. She wears average glasses. She attends an average high school. She has an average, kinda cute boyfriend named Chip.

Her best friend Jennifer, though, doesn't even come close to average.

In fact, Jennifer is the super-popular "hot" girl at school who all the girls want to look like and all the guys just want. She rules the roost. And when she prowls the packed hallways, the flood of students part like a biblical Red Sea—partly to get a better look at her and partly to stay clear of her sharp-edged tongue.

How do these two polar opposites end up as BFFs? Well, it all started way back when they were sandbox pals. And as long as Needy takes all her cues from the too hip for the room Jennifer, then things will just be peachy.

That peach quickly starts to turn, however, when Jennifer climbs into a van of twentysomething rockers one night and heads off on her own to go somewhere dark and scary. And their relationship decays further when the dark-haired beauty returns covered in blood, roaring like an ogre and spewing black bile.

By the time Jennifer starts treating the male half of the student body as her own personal, all-you-can-eat smorgasbord, well, Needy is pretty sure that her friend is evil. And not just high school evil, either, she says. Something has to be done, and quick, before it's Chip's turn to be on the menu.

Positive Elements

Needy and Jennifer do seem to care about one another (at least before the demonic possession thing really gets going). And Chip also seems to have sincere, loving feelings for the slightly nerdy Needy that go beyond the teen sex they share. (More on that later.) Needy puts her life on the line to save Chip.

Spiritual Content

A number of comments are made about Jesus. For example, an institutionalized Needy says she's received many letters from people encouraging her to find salvation by accepting Christ. She retorts, "I say the words, but nobody comes back. Nobody comes down off the cross to save me."

Needy's mom tells her of a bad dream she had where people nailed Needy to a tree "with hammers—just like J.C."

Needy does research on demons, specifically succubi.

Crucifixes adorn several scenes. One of Jennifer's victims clutches rosary beads in his bloodstained hand. After reporting some deaths, a teacher tells mourning students, "God bless you kids." A priest stands at a student's gravesite. After noticing that she feels indestructible and powerful from feeding on a slain student, Jennifer boasts, "I am a god!"

Jennifer calls her rock band seducers "agents of Satan with, like, totally awesome haircuts." They take her out to an isolated spot and tie her up for a ritualistic sacrifice that they learned about on the Internet.

Sexual Content

This movie wants to make it plain that its title refers to more than a young girl's corpse. Though never fully nude, we see the young curvaceous Jennifer in many revealing outfits. She unzips or removes her clothes in several scenes, revealing most of her upper body, including liberal amounts of her breasts. She swims naked in the lake.

Needy appears wearing only underwear. And she participates in a drawn-out sheet-covered lovemaking scene with Chip—that includes applying a condom and some very realistic sexual sounds and movements. Needy exposes the side of her breast.

In separate scenes, Jennifer and Chip both are seen fondling Needy's bra-covered breasts. And it appears from Needy's admiring glances that she has a crush on Jennifer. A girl leans into her ear at one point and whispers, "You're so lesbi-gay." Later, Jennifer—dressed in a small T-shirt and brief panties—gets into Needy's bed and kisses her. After the camera gives us a very up-close view of the open mouthed kiss, Needy lustfully pushes her friend back on the bed for more.

Talking about the kiss, Megan Fox, who plays Jennifer, told Rolling Stone, "Amanda was not excited about having to do it, but I went for it. Clearly I can't argue that it's not gratuitous, because it is. We both look like children, so it looks like crazy kiddie porn. There's no music—it's just silence and the sound of spit. I feel weird watching it. It was just really uncomfortable. I felt like I was witnessing something I'm not meant to see."

Jennifer talks about having anal sex. Many crude and obscene references are made to male and female sexual organs.

And from there it's a very short skip and a jump to hard-core sexualized violence. During Jennifer's seducing/killing rituals she's repeatedly shown moving close to her victims, tearing off their shirts, unzipping or removing their trousers and (offscreen) fondling them. Then she rips them to shreds.

Violent Content

Besides a bar fire that sets a number of customers ablaze or crushes them with falling ceiling beams, most of the film's gore spills forth thanks to Jennifer's flesh-ripping hands and mouth. In the heat of her succubus rage, her mouth transforms into a maw of saw-like teeth and she leaps snarling at her terrified victim's neck. Multiple times we see her chewing at necks and splashing blood in all directions.

The actual eviscerating and rending is only heard and seen in silhouette or candlelit shadows, but the rivers of spattered blood and gore-bathed corpses are always, eventually, given a close look. More than once Jennifer is shown licking the grisly remains or scooping out handfuls of goop from the innocent's opened chest cavity.

Weapons are also part of the sickening mess. One of the band members repeatedly plunges a large bowie knife into a victim. Jennifer has a huge box cutter thrust into her chest and has to slowly pull out a large pole that is shoved through her abdomen.

Crude or Profane Language

Teen characters spew out over 20 f-words and about a dozen s-words. Milder profanities include "b--ch," "a--" and "d--n." And God's name is blasphemed at least a dozen time, two or three times in combination with "d--n."

Drug and Alcohol Content

A bar scene shows students and adults drinking beer and alcohol. During a slideshow-like series of pictures at the end of the film we see rock band members downing alcohol and illicit drugs.

Other Negative Elements

On the heels of ripped-open torsos and gallons of spewed tar-black gunk, the movie's various toilet gags feel almost moot.

Conclusion

After 100 years of filmmaking, you'd think there would be some surefire way to make a good one. I mean, think about it. Today's motion pictures benefit from the latest high-tech equipment, a wealth of directorial and thespian erudition, the ability to shoot on location anywhere in the world, and the backing of tens if not hundreds of millions of production dollars.

In spite of all that, Jennifer's Body and the many, many, many films like it violently remind us of how truly rare truly good movies are.

Star Megan Fox is 2009's "it girl." And the movie's scriptwriter, Diablo Cody (of Juno fame), is renowned for her wit, style and keen eye. But neither of those little facts really matters once this bloody pie smacks you in the face.

If you're looking for compelling social commentary layered under the demonic transference and oozing yuck, you're in the wrong theater. Emotional connection? None. Clever, entertaining lingo? Not really. This is merely a crude, sometimes cheesy, always offensive mess that will fester and dribble its way into obscurity. The only thing it has going for it is that it has plenty of company.

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