Other than the robots, what was the primary reason many people saw Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen? Two words: Megan Fox. She is by far one the sexiest women on the planet, so you’d think her presence in any film would only help boost its box office and send people racing to the theater.
So what happened with Jennifer’s Body?
The poster alone was enough to entice me (see above); Megan Fox in a sexy schoolgirl outfit, sitting on a desk. I was intrigued. And yet, even with her sex appeal and her obvious turn as lead actress in a film, Jennifer’s Body bombed at the box office. Grossing only $16.2 million domestically, Jennifer’s Body failed to garner audience interest.
As I watched the film recently for this review, I decided to take a deeper look into why the film wasn’t a box office success, and what may have been the cause. But first…
Juno scribe Diablo Cody’s attempt at writing a horror comedy is uneven at best. While I understand the challenges involved in blending two very distinct genres into one film, the film’s overall tone fails to engage the comedic aspects that may be lying under the surface.
It’s clear from the dialogue among the young people in the film that this was penned by Diablo Cody. Like Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Clueless), Cody likes to utilize her own brand of slang to make her characters’ dialogue unique. Unfortunately, unlike the snappy slang in Juno, the use of this type of dialogue in Jennifer’s Body doesn’t blend in. Instead it pops out like a road flare waving on the side of a dark highway. In Juno the off-beat dialogue worked because it was part of Juno’s character. With Megan Fox and other characters using similar dialogue, it feels out of place.
I was very surprised that there is NO NUDITY in this movie! I was hoping that we would see Megan Fox’s ass, a boob, something. But no, the camera or her long hair are always strategically placed to avoid the sight of anything in the swimsuit area. Even a body double would have been worth seeing. Perhaps since this was a film directed by a woman, Karyn Kusama, she felt that it would have been exploitative to show off Megan Fox’s body. But it may have also cost the movie ticket sales.
Jennifer’s Body is a gory, bloody, and dark film about a girl (Fox) who is brutally killed in a Satanic ritual, comes back to life, and then must feed off the living in order to remain strong, invincible, and hot. Does that plot match the ad campaign for the film? Does the movie poster clue you into the tone or content? Yes and no. If it’s “From The Academy Award-Winning Writer of Juno,” I’m going to have different expectations for this film.
Juno was a light, indie comedy. Judging from the poster of Jennifer’s Body, I may suspect the film will be a dark comedy like Heathers or Jawbreaker. All well and good. No problem. But, as mentioned before, the comedy part seems to have taken a back seat, and dark overwhelms the film. Had there been a better balance, the film may have seen more success.
Now, all of the above is merely speculative and based on my own opinions as to why Jennifer’s Body did not fare well at the box office. Movies are very tricky to make, some are even harder to market, and there are times when it doesn’t matter who’s in the film it just doesn’t work. So, given all the above analysis and conjecture, would I still recommend you see this movie?
You see, movies like Jennifer’s Body are interesting to watch because they don’t follow the traditional formula that we are used to in certain genres of film. If Juno had been a teen vampire who became pregnant, would it have been as big a hit as it was?
My point is that Diablo Cody’s attempt to go outside the box and experiment with a new genre is a gutsy move. I’m sure she has no interest in getting stuck writing quirky movies like Juno the rest of her career.
If you are a fan of Megan Fox, she’s in this movie a lot more than she ever was in both Transformers films, and she wears a lot less in this one. I certainly enjoyed the movie because of her, and even without nudity, it still succeeds in keeping one’s attention.
I would even go so far as to say you should see this film BECAUSE of the issues commented on previously. While the tone is uneven and there are other issues, it still is much better than Battlefield Earth, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, or Wild Wild West. Also remember that these films don’t contain the sexy Megan Fox.
The DVD contains the rated and Unrated versions of the film, and also audio commentary by the director and Diablo Cody.
If you see the film, leave a comment and let us know what your opinion of the movie is. Am I way off base? Right on? We’d love to heat from you!
Jennifer’s Body comes to DVD and Blu-ray December 29, 2009!