Film Review: Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Release Date: September 10th, 2009 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Written by: Diablo Cody
Music by: Stephen Barton, Theodore Shapiro
Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, J. K. Simmons, Amy Sedaris, Adam Brody, Kyle Gallner, Chris Pratt, Bill Fagerbakke, Lance Henriksen 

Dune Entertainment, Fox Atomic, 20th Century Fox, 102 Minutes

Review:

“You know what? You were never really a good friend. Even when we were little, you used to steal my toys and pour lemonade on my bed.” – Needy, “And now, I’m eating your boyfriend. See? At least I’m consistent.” – Jennifer

I never had a burning urge to see this movie and because of that, I didn’t check it out until now. The reason being is that this appeared on The Criterion Channel, of all places, and it made me wonder if there was some hidden artistic genius in this that I, and most of the world, slept on in 2009. That curiosity made me finally give this a shot.

I was pretty underwhelmed by it and it’s pretty much exactly what I thought it would be but more boring and featuring a lot less of Jennifer’s body than an average male would hope for.

Sure, Megan Fox shows some skin and I didn’t expect her to go nude or anything but this is a lot less racier than the marketing in 2009 implied. In its defense, however, this was marketed poorly, as it is more geared towards a female audience than a male one, not to say males wouldn’t enjoy it either. However, the strong female message in it is pretty lost amongst all the craziness and sloppy, nonsensical, hole-riddled plot.

I know that Jennifer was murdered in a Satanic ritual by a terrible band wanting fame and fortune. I also know that this ritual turned her into a demon or maybe she was possessed? I don’t know. I’m not sure if she actually survived and acquired this power or died and came back or maybe was just some demon piloting her corpse. Was she alive? Dead? Undead? What are her powers exactly? What are her weaknesses? She died really fucking easily, getting stabbed by a boxcutter. Yet she was brutally stabbed a bunch of times by a giant Bowie knife earlier in the film during the ritual that made her whatever the fuck she is.

None of this stuff is clearly explained, no actual rules for the film are established and what we end up with was a total clusterfuck where things just happen because the plot needs them too.

Additionally, the dialogue was pretty cringe. It’s like it was trying to emulate Mean Girls a decade too late. However, beyond that, the writing also fails the characters, as they both have these multiple personality shifts that don’t logically make sense.

I thought that Megan Fox gave a pretty mundane performance, overall. Although, Amanda Seyfried saved the film from being total shit and she was likable, except for when her character wasn’t acting like her character.

In the end, I guess I’ve seen this and I never have to watch it again. However, now I’m even more confused as to why The Criterion Channel even bothered with this.

Rating: 5/10

Film Review: Funny Farm (1988)

Release Date: June 3rd, 1988
Directed by: George Roy Hill
Written by: Jeffrey Boam
Based on: Funny Farm by Jay Cronley
Music by: Elmer Bernstein
Cast: Chevy Chase, Madolyn Smith, Joseph Maher, Jack Gilpin, Brad Sullivan, MacIntyre Dixon, Kevin O’Morrison, Alice Drummond, Mike Starr, Glenn Plummer, Bill Fagerbakke, Kevin Conway

Cornelius Productions, Pan Arts, Warner Bros., 101 Minutes

Review:

“Remember, Mrs. Farmer. Whenever you buy a house, whatever’s in the ground belongs to you – whether it’s gold or oil… or Claude Musselman.” – Sheriff Ledbetter

Funny Farm is probably the least zany of Chevy Chase’s ’80s comedies but that doesn’t mean that it’s not entertaining and that it doesn’t maximize the talent of its often times zany star.

Chase, his antics and this kind of wholesome story just come across as more laid back and subtle than his other pictures of the era. This movie kind of slows Chase down and presents him in a way that I’d assume is a lot closer to his real self.

The story is simple and it sees a married couple move to the country in Vermont to work on the things they’re writing. They feel like the slow, country life will help them focus more on their work and each other without innumerable distractions.

There are a lot of good gags regarding a city couple being fishes out of water in a small town and while this taps into overused tropes, none of it feels lazy or redundant. I think that has to do with how well Chase and his onscreen wife Madolyn Smith handle the material. Additionally, they had natural chemistry and their personalities meshed well together.

The movie is populated with a lot of familiar character actors and most of the townsfolk are really entertaining and fun to watch.

Outside of the townsfolk, though, I really liked the bits with the movers, played by Mike Starr and Glenn Plummer, two actors I’ve enjoyed for decades now. I understand from a plot standpoint why they only appear in the first act but it would’ve been cool to see more of them.

Funny Farm is a pretty chill Chevy Chase experience. He’s charming and amusing while Madolyn Smith compliments him quite well. I liked the two of them in this and it’s just a simple movie with a simple message that lets you escape into it for a little while.

Rating: 6.25/10