As a horror movie, Jennifer's Body doesn't fully deliver. But as a comic allegory of what it's like to be an adolescent girl who comes into sexual and social power that she doesn't know what the heck to do with, it is a minor classic.
Cody and director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Aeon Flux) have a lot of fun setting up Fox - seen here in all her glory, with that double-dip bod and triple-dip eyelashes - as the voluptuous vixen too cool for school and too hot for you. As this sexually ambidextrous character, Fox has a lot of fun, too. Her teasing message: I know what boys want - and I know what girls want, too.
Instead of sacrificing Jennifer as the hot chick who deserves to get punished, as girls of this sort routinely are in horror films, the filmmakers present her as one overwhelmed by hormones and male attention. Jennifer is tired of being the campus lust object. She's tired of the limited menu of men in Devil's Kettle, Minn. She's looking for fresh meat.
So, with bestie Needy in tow, Jennifer goes to the local roadhouse to hear an emo band, Low Shoulder, led by Nikolai (Adam Brody), and makes him her lust object. Then hell is unleashed, and Jennifer becomes a literal man-eater. Yes, there's a satanic initiation with a side of chili con carnage.
In a clunky but not unlikable way, the filmmakers play with ideas about female sexual voracity. At first, it is suggested, Jennifer is a nymphomaniac. The way Cody structured the film suggests that a not-very-interesting phenomenon has taken place when in fact it is later revealed that something much more interesting has happened. As the movie progresses, Jennifer emerges as the Jessica Rabbit of horror - she's not bad, she's just drawn that way.
As hottie and nottie, Fox is appropriately foxy, and Seyfried (a genuine beauty) is made to look geeky. These are archetypal characters, to be sure, but Fox and Seyfried are very good in expressing the intensity of teen-girl friendships.
Kusama, a good director of actresses, doesn't establish her own visual style. Instead, she borrows from other directors (Jennifer's Body pays tribute to many horror flicks, including Carrie, The Silence of the Lambs, Thelma & Louise, and Halloween). This makes the film seem derivative when, in fact, it is an original.
Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey at 215-854-5402 or email@example.com. Read her blog, "Flickgrrl," at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/flickgrrl/.