Typecast as a soulless, flesh-devouring ghoul, Megan Fox has a devil of a time in Jennifer's Body, twirling her raven tresses, arching her back and quivering her pouty lips seductively. Her dead-eyed glare is so perfect for the role of a demonic teen queen it's downright scary; if only the movie itself could muster more than a few cheap chills.
Fox gamely plays the title role, a brunet junior varsity seductress stalking the halls of her small-town high school like she owns the joint — alongside her wholesome blond pal "Needy" (Amanda Seyfried), they're like an unholy Betty and Veronica. Things go very wrong for these BFFs when they run afoul of a crew of thoroughly rotten indie rockers at a local bar gig. Smarmy Adam Brody nails the role of an utterly evil leader of a band so intent on making it big they seek a human sacrifice (for Satan) to boost their careers. Unfortunately, they need a virgin, which disqualifies Jennifer — deflowered in junior high — so the ritual instead turns her into a monster, one who stays pretty by munching on unsuspecting boys.
Jennifer's Body aims for a sweet spot somewhere between teen-sex horror classics Heathers and Carrie, but falls a bit short. Director Kartyn Kusuma (Girlfight) struggles mightily to balance the yuks with the yucky, but the flowing gore drowns out laughs. The film wobbles, which is a major disappointment, considering the sky-high expectations after film writer Diablo Cody's Oscar win. Some gags rock, but she can't resist the hyper-snarky, pop-culture-cute "Juno speak," where everybody says stuff like "Where it's at, Monistat?" which is sooo 2000.
What could be some sort of neo-feminist scream is closer to Cody's revenge on prom queens — she turns the bitchy hottie into a very literal demon. Hormonal young boys will miss the satire, distracted by Fox wearing very little and by the totally hot girl-on-girl makeout session. There's enough quirk and titillation to earn a cult following, but most moviegoers will want something with a bit more bite.
Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].