Friday, February 19, 2010

You should 'check out' Jennifer's Body

We are not professionals.  We don't aim to go into full-regurgitation mode here in our reviews - if you want to know the storyline, you can read it for yourself, so we're not going to break down the whole plot. It really doesn't matter all that much what the damn story is supposed to be anyway. What you know is going on and what you are watching is the cat and mouse between the character of Jennifer and her best friend Needy and the boys who orbit Jennifer like love-starved satellites. And there you have it.

KELLY:  So, Jennifer's Body. I really liked this movie, although I half expected to not like it because of the poor reviews after it came out.  People seemed very excited about it and then all of sudden it was as though the movie was only mediocre at best. 

PATRICE: Critics really hated it. I think because of Diablo Cody, not the movie itself.  I fully expected this movie to be just an overhyped teenage hormone fest that would ultimately leave me unsatisfied, and maybe even a little disgusted. After all, the marketing for this film concentrated on the sexy bimbo hotness of Megan Fox and what would appear to be a need to eat or at least make out with everyone who wanders within six feet of her. 

KELLY: I need to go back and look at the reviews, but I'll bet you anything most of the so-so reviews were done by men, because they just didn't relate to it or get it.  I think that's why I enjoyed it so much, I could relate to so many of the scenes and dialogue, even given it's about diabolical possession!

PATRICE: Well just being a woman I think we can both relate to diabolical possession sometimes.  The character of Jennifer seemed to be as much a victim of her teenage sexual desires and hormones as she was a murderous demon possessed biatch.

KELLY: Both of whom I've met at some point in high school.

PATRICE: I liked the fact that when she was low on bitchfuel, she got uglier.  It was satisfying!

KELLY: Bitchfuel, I like it. Kind of appropriate that it was the boys that made her bitchy, don't you think? Very appropriate indeed...

PATRICE: Yeah this was definitely the perspective of a woman, no doubt.  Sort of the man-eater stereotype ramped up.

KELLY: There were so many teenage girl parallels to be drawn in this movie: boys make her be bitchy, man-eater, best friends who secretly want to kill each other.  The list goes on and on...

PATRICE:  …the jealousy, the envy, the boys who wanted to be close to Jennifer, the best friend who marveled at her…

KELLY:  This could have just as easily been another John Hughes movie about teenage friendships if you took out the whole demonic possession bit.
PATRICE:  Exactly that - if John Hughes and Quentin Tarantino teamed up.

KELLY: Ooh, that would have been awesome for sure...

So, should we knock out the bit about the girl-on-girl scene?  It didn’t do anything for me one way or the other, definitely just a ploy to get guys to agree to go to the movie with their girlfriend for a chick-centered film.

PATRICE: It was the one scene you couldn't possibly avoid knowing about ahead of time was the much-hinted at bedroom omg-they're-kissing scene Jennifer and Needy. Turns out, that scene isn't any more exciting than what you would see on a Girls Gone Wild commercial, assuming you're old enough to stay up and watch Comedy Central unsupervised. 

KELLY:  I saw an interview with Amanda Seyfried where she said she and Megan Fox just rolled their eyes at that scene and were like, whatever.

PATRICE: I really have nothing more to add about it. I think it was completely unnecessary and any attempt by other reviewers to work it into the whole teenaged finding yourself phase is full of shit.

KELLY: Agreed.

PATRICE:  So there was also the relationship between Needy and her boyfriend Chip.  I wasn't sure exactly how much of that was pertinent to the rest of the story other than to illustrate the stark contrast between the two girls and maybe to create that triangle that ultimately led to Needy attacking Jennifer.

KELLY: Side note: I want to say that I appreciate that high school age kids (or those pretty close) were used for this movie. Made it much more realistic to see them talking the way they did.

PATRICE:  Oh, yeah and I love that boy who played the goth kid -the one from Haunting in Connecticut.

KELLY:  Back on track: yeah, I kept wondering if Needy losing her virginity would somehow play a role, but I don't think it ever really did. I went back through and thought about that, but could never find anything that jumped out at me.

PATRICE: I think it was just to show the contrast - her sweetness and innocence compared to how Jennifer just used boys to her advantage, like the soon-to-be cop boy from the bar.

KELLY: Do you think there was any significance in the teacher having a claw for a hand? I wasn't sure if it was just there simply because they had it in props and thought "hey, this is neat" or if there was something we were supposed to take from it.  It was very random.

PATRICE: I think it might have been just an odd bit they threw in there, random.

KELLY: For me, the best scene in the movie would have to be the fight at the abandoned swimming pool on prom night.  That whole scene had me laughing 1) because the action was fun but more importantly 2) because of the argument the two girls were having.  Here you have Jennifer trying to eat Needy's boyfriend alive and in the end they end up bitching about each other's flaws as a friend.

PATRICE: I told you the line that really cracked me up, when Needy has jammed the big pole thru Jennifer and J is like “Got a tampon?  I thought you might be pluggin’.”  It was almost like she was saying, ‘I thought that's why you might be getting all worked up over me trying to eat your boyfriend,’ like you wouldn’t otherwise.  I liked how it seemed almost ridiculous “Oh, now you're floating?” or something like that.  For some reason that was so ludicrous and so funny to me. 

KELLY: Yes, the floating line!  Chip says something like "she's levitating" and Needy says "she's just floating, it's not that impressive" or something like that.   Just super bitchiness!
This scene alone made me love this movie. The rest was good enough to get a good review, but that sealed the deal for me. Was the dialogue cheesy? Yes. But have I been in a similar situation where you start bitching at each other over nonsense that is totally unrelated to the situation at hand? Absolutely!

PATRICE: It's that particular element that made it so much more resonant for women. We’ve all had friends that we were super close to, but given a stressful situation would scratch each other's eyes out.  Men would never do that. Wouldn't even understand why we would.

KELLY:  Exactly!  And let's be honest, no matter how much we love our friends, at some point we've wanted to just shove a pole through them and tell them to just Go To Hell. I love my best friend to death, but on more than a few occasions I'm pretty sure we could have killed each other were it not for silly laws making it illegal.

PATRICE: Exactly.  So let me ask you about something else:  the band that slips into town to find a victim to sacrifice to make themselves famous, Low Shoulder.  When they roll into this little town in the middle of nowhere, they are there for a reason - which of course we find out later.  They're going to find a virgin to sacrifice so they can basically sell their souls to the devil for fame, etc.

Okay, what I thought about after the fact was...what was the purpose of the club burning down and killing so many people?  Could they not have just played a show, found a girl to lure into their van and gone on with their plan? Did they need a diversion that big? Or am I just missing something?  I realize that the whole "healing" process and the song that becomes tattooed on their brains was tied into that. I get that.

KELLY: I wondered about that as well and finally decided it was to illustrate how 'low' Low Shoulder really was. They are that depraved that they simply don't care.  Because honestly, they didn't make any attempt to try to save Jennifer, so I don't think they did it to have a distraction so they could get to her. I think they just capitalized on her being safe after the fact. They were just assholes, plain and simple.

PATRICE: I also wondered how they even pulled the fire off from the stage. It seemed supernatural, but they didn't have any powers - they were just dorks who were going to try to conjure up some demons.

KELLY:  I can't quite remember how it started.

PATRICE: The fire seemed to start out of nowhere, running up a pole or a beam, wasn't sure what it was, but they were on stage at the time, just starting to play, so they really didn't even get to perform.  And then there was the rumor that they were heroes, helping people... I suppose that's how they elevated themselves.

KELLY: I also kind of felt it was making a statement about how people are so quick to deify celebrities, just as easily as they vilify them. Low Shoulder's music wasn't that great, but they were seen as gods by Jennifer, which led to her demise. And then all the students fell into hero worship for something the band didn't actually do (saving people) and were willing to fight for them.  It was commentary on the cult of celebrity.

PATRICE: Yeah that was definitely meant to be the statement, I agree.  The conversation in the classroom when the nameless girl defends them as having been the freaking saviors come to earth or something.
KELLY: Hmm, wonder if Diablo Cody was fashioning this band after any group in particular?

PATRICE:  They were actually gonna have Pete Wentz or Joel Madden.

KELLY:  I loved the dialogue during the Low Shoulder sacrifice scene. It was ridiculous and nonsense, but it worked. It wasn't overplayed, it wasn't acted as if I'm supposed to take it seriously. It was simply tongue-in-cheek and dumb and worked perfectly.

PATRICE: Oh yeah, and bursting into 867-5309 (Jenny) may have actually been my favorite part of the movie.  I nearly wet myself!

KELLY: Yeah, that scene could have easily made me roll my eyes, but instead, I was laughing and loving it.  That's something else about the movie that I enjoyed: it was campy and schlocky at times and non-sensical but it all worked together perfectly. I feel like this would be a perfect movie to watch with a bunch of girlfriends at a sleepover.  It was just a fun damn movie. 

PATRICE: It was and I thought the special fx were good. 

KELLY: Agreed, the fx were good partly because they were simple and not over the top, so there was little opportunity to screw them up, so you could easily buy everything that happened.

PATRICE:  I mean, just look what they did for Megan Fox's thumbs...

KELLY:  What about her thumbs?

PATRICE: OMG you haven't heard the flap? She's got some kind of malfunction that makes her thumbs look like a caveman’s - so they had a double do the scene with the closeup of her hands, and they 'shopped in the double's thumbs.

KELLY: Huh. Well, hmm, there you go. Caveman thumbs eliminated thanks to the magic of movies.

PATRICE: Actually it wasn't in this movie, it was her Superbowl Ad with the photo-shopped thumbs, but still it is pretty funny.  Just google Megan Fox thumbs and you'll get the idea of the magnitude of it.

KELLY:  What were some of your favorite lines from the movie? I loved loved loved the final fight between Needy and Jennifer when Needy says "Know what this is? It's a BOX cutter!" I about died!

PATRICE: Yeah, that and the other one I already mentioned about pluggin’ were my favorites!  Gross but funny. [For more awesome quotes, click here.]  I also wanted to add that I loved that Amy Sedaris played the trailer trash mom to Needy

KELLY: I kept trying to figure out where I knew her from and then I was like "Is that Sedaris? Nah, it can't be!"  I wonder if her role was cut down from something bigger.I can't imagine casting Amy Sedaris as a narcoleptic white trash mother and then just not doing anything with that.

PATRICE: True, she's bigger than that.

KELLY: Then again, maybe she's pals with Cody and it was done as a friend thing, who knows.  Though, still, as a friend, Cody should have written more for her, so that really doesn't hold any water. Hmm, mysterious...

Okay, so I want to get your take on the beginning/ending, with Needy in the mental hospital.  Do you think she actually became possessed herself or, as she states it, she simply took on some of the powers?  I wondered, because not even Jennifer knew what was going on with her body (yet another teenage girl metaphor) and she was full on possessed, so would Needy necessarily know if she had the devil in her? 

PATRICE: She did all that research to figure out what happened to Jennifer, so yeah, she knew.

KELLY: In the end, I did end up thinking it was just pulling on the powers, not full blown possession.  The primary reason I figured it was just gaining strength was in how she murdered Low Shoulder.  She basically just went in and thrashed the shit out of them, no flesh eating.

PATRICE: I liked when she kicked that woman across the cafeteria. “Just one Toastem, huh?”

KELLY: That was damn funny. 

Something I really liked about the ending: she took revenge  for Jennifer.  BFF 4Ever and all that.  Even though things had gone to hell, literally, she busted out, risking everything, to go find those who had hurt her friend and then took revenge.  She can beat the shit out of her friend, but damnit, no one else better touch her!

PATRICE:  The revenge on the band was awesome!  After all, they were the ones who made Jennifer that way, so it makes sense.  Jennifer might have been a little bitchy, but she wasn't a demon until they came along.  Those douchbags got what they deserved.

KELLY: In the end, it was a film about friendship and the ups and downs and perhaps a little demonic possession.  It was touching in an odd way.

PATRICE: I also wondered if Cody Diablo might not be a fan of boy bands.

KELLY: What makes you say that?

PATRICE:  They were portrayed as lazy, self-centered, misogynistic assholes who would do anything to get famous even without any real talent and then they get slaughtered in the end.

KELLY: Oh, you mean bands with guys, I thought you meant 'boy bands' like Backstreet Boys and NSync and the like.  I was like, uh, what?  Does anyone really like those bands anymore? ;)

PATRICE: I actually looked at the revenge as purely revenge for everything they did to ruin the town and kill so many people and for being the ones to cause Jennifer to become what she was. 

KELLY: Oh no no no no no, dude, it's total 'Bitch is Scorned' action! Typical chick. ;)
PATRICE: Plus her boyfriend got killed in the process.

KELLY: Good ol' Chip...

PATRICE: I loved Chip.  I loved that Johnny Simmons got to play him.  Of course I kept thinking "How the hell are you gonna ignore Chip in favor of a bitchy girl friend?"  Maybe that's just me.

KELLY: Chip’s best line: "I can take care of myself, I'm using the bowflex."

This movie was fun and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I'm perplexed as to why it got only so-so reviews when it came out. I can only figure they were men who reviewed it and that they didn't just get it.

PATRICE:  I think they might have either been expecting too much out of Diablo Cody because "Juno" was so great, or if they thought it was too lightweight by comparison. That plus they just didn't get it.  I loved it, thought it had good effects, effective suspense, an original storyline, and a great cast. Oh and a good soundtrack.

KELLY: I suggest everyone rent it and watch it. If you're a chick, invite some gal pals over, eat junk food and prepare to have fun

PATRICE: Yep, agreed.

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