Caught a preview screening of Jennifer’s Body. It wasn’t as awful as I’d read, but I can say that there’s going to be a cadre of folks who are interested in seeing the thing just for Megan Fox’s body. And they’ll be disappointed, because though some of the billboard adverts have given it that bro-skin-flick sheen, that it ain’t. It may have some overbearingly brazen Hollywood affectations (let’s cram as many pop songs as possible in the most awkward situations), Diablo Cody may have gone a bit too over-the-top with her Diablo Cody-isms (though, to be perfectly honest, I know people who speak with the same “quirky” speech affectations), and the humor-horror mixture sometimes trips over itself.
Sometimes. It’s still fairly entertaining, though I wish Cody would’ve explored certain aspects in greater depth (though I can see how it may have been overkill/distracting).
WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead. (Nothing too terrible, but if you’ve seen or read anything about the film, you won’t be caught terribly off-guard.)
At the crux of all the movement is a band called Low Shoulder, who end up performing in the backwoods town that Jennifer lives in and results in a massive Great White-like disaster. (As an aside, I thought the horror take on a club fire was kind of in bad taste… perhaps because it’s exploitative nature that’s eerily like an event that feels so recent/always feels close to home considering the countless teeny spaces I myself cram into for shows could always be a potential nightmare.) In any case, the town and nation are somehow deluded into thinking the band are heroes, with the entire local high school head over heels for the group. A conversation ensues where a Needy (Amanda Seyfried) gets in an argument with a classmate who worships the band based on facts she read over wikipedia and claims that “we need them now more than ever.” It’s this kind of stuff that makes me really respect Cody: she may write a kind of dialogue that goes to extremes of online banter as used in life, but her abilities to display how people react in the most insignificant of situations is uncanny. I found that one relatively sideline scene to be so endearing, the idea that people will seek anything as a source of hope and use the word “hero” for a person who may not well deserve it, a third rate entertainer no less. (It’s kind of funny seeing Adam Brody in another role outside of The Ten where his character is revered for no apparent reason.)
On another, more scrupulous note, Brody’s fake band reveals a certain way people perceive, well, certain kinds of bands, within the context of a film and out of it. Left Shoulder are basically billed as an “indie” band on several occasions in the film, and the watered down song that’s parlayed throughout the film is basically as bland as anything that can be passed off as such. And though the only mention of emo in the entire film is something of a “quirk line” (“puncture wound? That’s so emo.”), some folks are already calling Brody’s faux act an emo band. So sayeth Metromix’s Geoff Berkshire:
When rising emo band Low Shoulder come to town, Jennifer makes it a priority to meet the lead singer (Adam Brody), leading to a night that changes her forever.
The giveaway for the band being remotely “emo”? Probably Brody’s guyliner. As Brody told MTV about his role:
I play this guy named Nikolai Wolf, and he’s a singer in an emo band. He’s looking for fame and fortune and is basically a sociopath who came upon the idea that devil worship and sacrificing a girl is the surefire ticket to fame and fortune. And he has no problem doing that, whatsoever.
Yeah, there’s some Jared Leto in there. I threw in a bit of Brandon Flowers. There’s a little Maroon 5. There’s no nail polish, but there’s a little bit of eyeliner.
And there you have it. Gotta love how Brandon Flowers, though he’s previously been outspoken against emo, is probably a greater basis for Brody’s character than Leto: Brody’s stage manner resembles that of Flowers in that over-indulgent, I’m-so-great-look-at-me-slowly-sway kind of way.
What’s more interesting is the band’s supposed evil status. I realize the film is a mixture of comedy and horror, but this is where the mixture doesn’t really work. The ease with which Brody and his band-mates are compelled to commit some heinous act with barely any 2nd guessing (that being the whole “hey, it’s either this or be a barista” argument, which is fairly lame) just didn’t do it for me. Why? Because any band that would have such a brazenly vanilla sound probably wouldn’t be in the same room as anything occult. Nor would they think “that dude from Maroon 5” is cool. Because no one thinks that guy is cool.
Now I’m just nitpicking…
Jennifer’s Body trailer: