30.11.09

Jennifer's Body

'Nice hardware, Ace' says Megan Fox, after pulling down the cute emo boy's trousers. She then vamps out and proceeds to dismember him. Welcome to Diablo Cody's follow up to quirky indie highschool rom-com Juno.

Which is scary and sexy in equal measures. Also, funny. Also, clever. That's pretty much my life fulfilled right there. But did I mention clever? Yes. Not your typical 'girls are evil and we need to torture them' porno-horror provided by the Hollywood cineplexes. Hey! You know why girls are evil? Because us guys make them evil.

Yes. Us guys, with our souless quest for riches, status and teenage fanclubs. Adam Brody (who prompted multiple ejaculations of glee from your correspondent in the cinema) and his pathetic indie band rape Jennifer's body in order to placate their will-to-power. But whoops! She's not the powerless, virginal innocent they thought. Jenny's been round the block, she knows the score, and now she's out for vengeance.

Except that her vengeance tears the life right out of the town. To its immeasurable credit the film never lets us forget the human cost of the rampage. And we start to see that while the demon was unleashed by monsters, Jennifer was always a bit of a monster herself. She is a girl-Jock, happy with sex and status and objectifying those around her. And yet we pity her in a way we can't pity the strawmen evil indie band. Her attitude grows out of insecurities fostered by a culture that makes her an object. If she's only a piece of meat to you, then she'll make mincemeat out of you. Serves you right, right?

Wrong. Fighting fire with fire will only burn the only bar in town down. And yet you need a little bit of that fire in you, as our heroine finds out. She's gonna use it to take out the real bad guys.

Also, funny. Did I mention funny? Juno prompted a ridiculous debate about Cody's 'unrealistic', 'self-conciously quirky', 'too clever' dialogue, largely fueled by a particularly vicious Time Out review. I stand firmly behind Mark Kermode when he says THIS IS CINEMA, NOT REAL LIFE! You are allowed to write unrealistic, clever dialogue. If you found Cody's quirkiness forced or annoying, that's fair enough. I found it charming. Also, and I've probably mentioned this before, funny.

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