By Todd Gilchrist -- reprinted from TIFF 9/11/09
What is Jennifer's Body, and what is it supposed to be about? I don't know, and the film doesn't seem to, either: It's not really a horror movie, because those are usually scary. Nor is it smart or self-aware enough to be a treatise on teenage girls or male fears of female sexuality. And it's not even a swing-for-the-fences, spectacular enough failure to be a death knell or even deconstruction of the severely limited appeal of either its star, Megan Fox, or its screenwriter, Diablo Cody. Jennifer's Body substitutes hipster credibility for emotional currency, confuses pop-psychology insight with substantive social commentary, and measures terror on a scale that ranges from the word boo to a dead spider; in short, Jennifer's Body just does not work.
Fox plays Jennifer, a sexpot alpha female who mercilessly presides over the boys in her high school, but only has affection for her childhood friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried). After the two of them narrowly escape a fire while attending the concert of an up-and-coming band, Jennifer takes off to parts unknown in the lead singer's tour van, only to turn up later that night ravenously hungry in Needy's kitchen, covered in blood and God knows what else. It turns out that Jennifer has been mysteriously turned into a literal man-eater, and subsequently decides that her male classmates will serve as a more than suitable smorgasbord for her feasting pleasure. But when the homicidal homecoming queen decides that Needy's boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons) is next on the menu, her mousy friend musters all of her own inner strength and decides to take Jennifer down a peg or two, even if it comes at the expense of their friendship, or even their lives.