Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for DHD with an emphasis on Hollywood:
Though not a part of the general Comic-Con, Fox put on a footage-screening and panel for JENNIFER’S BODY exclusively for press. The advance word on this has been mixed – via leaked publicity pictures, it has been made very clear that there is Megan Fox nudity in the film, and there’s clearly a hope that’ll sell. Similar self-promotion, after all, worked for the movie’s screenwriter, Brook Busey, who renamed herself Diablo Cody, wrote a book about being a stripper, and rode that Suicide Girl image all the way to an Oscar. Diablo is also a great name for someone writing horror…though her trademark as such to date has been teen-hipspeak that fans either love or think is way overdone.
(Note: from here on out, I’m using the term “Fox” to refer to Megan Fox, not the studio.)
I fall into the “overdone” camp…but I do find it funny that hardcore geeks who’ll defend Joss Whedon against similar charges aren’t wholely in the Cody camp. Some would blame that on sexism. I don’t know.
But what I do know is that when the script for JENNIFER’S BODY first leaked, there was a bit of horror – and not the right kind – at some of the Cody dialogue that played right into her typecasting. “You’re lime green jello, and you can’t even admit it!” was the most frequently cited. That’s in the movie, yes… but spoken by Jennifer (Megan Fox) in a way that is clearly supposed to be obnoxious.
Other lines in the footage have a similar tone: “He thinks he’s cute enough for me, and that’s why he’s in retard math”; “It smells like Thai food in here – have you guys been fucking?”; “I wonder if he’s circumcised – I’ve always wanted to try sea cucumber”; “I’ll just play Hello Titty with the bartender.”
Again, though – they are all spoken by a character who is so beautiful and damn sure of herself that the smarmy hipness totally works, at least so far.
As for the scene itself, it involves Jennifer and her girlfriend (played by Amanda Seyfried) going to a dive bar for a night out. Jennifer orders a “9-11” shot, which consists, hilariously tastelessly, of two shot glasses side by side like the twin towers, filled with red, white, and blue layers. “Tower One isn’t as full as it should be,” says Jennifer.
Her girlfriend wears glasses, which in movie cliché fashion means that nobody can see she’s totally attractive (I expect this in most movies – but director Karyn Kusama is a woman who wears glasses and also looks good. I don’t wanna presume…but maybe it’s an insecurity of hers? If so, it shouldn’t be).
Oh, and Cody makes a cameo as a bartender.
Jennifer tries to hit on the guys in the band playing at the bar. Then goes to get drinks, while her galpal overhears the band members saying that Jennifer is so confident she must be a virgin (Jennifer later states that she isn’t even a “backdoor virgin.”)
As the band plays, the stage catches fire, and then the whole place goes up in flames. Her girlfriend leads Jennifer to the bathroom, and they escape out the window. The bar explodes, with flaming people running out.
The girls are in shock, but suddenly the band shows up, and invite the girls back into their serial-killer-style van. Though her girlfriend adamantly refuses, a frazzled Jennifer is all about it.
Later, back at her galpal’s house, there’s a knock on the door. Nobody outside. Back inside, there is Jennifer, covered in blood. Jennifer gives a bloody grin when asked what happened, then goes to the fridge and chows down on a whole chicken. She gags on it, vomits up a stream of black slime that then bristles with spikes as it pools on the floor (overkill, but wonderfully so). Jennifer then grabs her galpal in what seems to be a borderline lustful lesbian embrace.
Visually, the footage is solid. The only Kusama movie I’ve seen prior was AEON FLUX, which was half-awesome and half-abysmal – great surreal visuals with a stupid plot and mediocre acting. Cody gets grief for her dialogue, but the underlying structure and emotional arc of JUNO was solid, and that could be a big help here. Fox more than ever seems to be “playing herself,” if the panel following is representative – she likes to be inflammatory and profane when placed behind a mic, and this looks like just the forum for that.
I don’t like that there’s voice-over by Jennifer’s girlfriend – this allows for more hipster dialogue than is necessary, and in a movie about an evil teen killing people, I can’t imagine that the extra exposition is really necessary. Here’s hoping it stays minimal.
Panel: Fox, Cody, Kusama, and producer Jason Reitman.
What did Fox like about the movie? “It’s so completely unapologetic about how completely inappropriate it is.”
Cody: “Horror has always kind of had a feminist angle, in a weird kinda way.”
Kusama: “A lot of horror is about femaleness.”
Reitman is asked if horror is a big change for him. “I found THANK YOU FOR SMOKING terrifying!” Says JENNIFER’S BODY feels like a fairy tale gone psycho.
Fox is asked how this differs from roles she’s been known for. “Oh, you mean than TRANSFORMERS?” (Well, I liked her in HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE, but the guy asking the question doesn’t seem to have seen it). Fox: “There’s no robots to distract from my performance, so if it’s terrible, you’re gonna fuckin’ know that it’s terrible.”
Will the movie be sexy? Fox responds in the affirmative: “You better put on your fuckin’ sexy shoes for this movie!” There is at least one girl-on-girl kiss, and a seduction precedes each kill.
Cody says “horror is better than anything – anything I coulda done was building to this.” Good thing she already has that Oscar – they don’t like giving ‘em to horror people.
If the movie played at L.A.’s New Beverly theater, what would it be paired with? “FRIGHT NIGHT.”
As a final note, Cody says she’s proud of getting indie-punk cult band Screeching Weasel on the soundtrack. (Screeching Weasel fans, if I know them, are probably preparing to burn their CDs and scream ‘Sell-out!’ as soon as they read this).
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.