Plenty of people have immediately written off the movie because they loathe Diablo Cody or Megan Fox. Fox is an especially contentious figure among women because she's young, she's hot, and she's as eager to be "exploited" by the Hollywood machine as she is to give it the middle finger. And Diablo Cody, well... As the talented and smart Karyn Kusama, director of Jennifer's Body said in an interview with Cinematical's Todd Gilchrist, "I feel like the issue of [Cody's] voice being strong and people having a problem with it is very interesting to me because I think there are plenty of writers whose work generates that discussion. I have just never heard Quentin Tarantino or David Mamet or Shane Black be called a whore in people's blogs; I am shocked sometimes by the vitriol."
The cycle of slavering adoration and vicious backlash Cody has been the subject of since she was the Next Big Thing with her book Candy Girl makes my head spin, and if I were her, I'd have hocked my Oscar and headed for the hills long ago. But she hasn't, and thank goodness for that because Jennifer's Body is the coolest, weirdest thing to happen to women in horror (and the women who love horror) in a long time.
Something interesting is happening on the Internet, and that's a growing rumble of approval from the audience writer Diablo Cody and director Karyn Kusama were hoping to reach: women. And that's so f---ing cool to me because this strange, unwieldy beast, which has gore but isn't a horror movie and has hot chicks kissing but for entirely different reasons than you'd think, has been marketed to the typical straight horror movie audience. This isn't a slam against the marketing folks, either, because times are tough, this movie is a gamble, and how the hell did Heathers did at the box office when it first came out? It went down as easily as a cup of Drano in theaters but gathered steam on DVD.
I have faith, though, that Jennifer's Body will find a different fate, and we all owe it to Al Gore. Or Ada Lovelace. Or Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and every other online entity that has advertising and marketing execs scratching their heads like the Dolby dog. So here's my attempt to spread the word that Jennifer's Body is rad. Yes, I said rad. It made me want to jump in the car I had when I was sixteen and listen to Hole as loud as possible in the middle of the night as I raced home to make curfew. It reminded me of my best friends in seventh grade and how horrible we could be to each other. How there is always a Needy and there is always a Jennifer who wants what Needy has just because Needy has it, and finally Needy gets to rise up and kick Jennifer's ass.
Below are a few links to other very smart ladies who agree with me. I mean, they're smart apart from agreeing with me, not because they agree with me, but hey, it doesn't hurt.
Genevieve M. Blaber of Latino Review writes on her own blog, "Unfortunately, with Jennifer's Body I'm seeing (and hearing) many males write off the parts of the film they don't understand and, as a consequence, the entire film. What they should be doing instead, is trying to understand it as a seldom given look at the inner workings of women and their relationships with each other."
The aptly-named EruditeChick also has a fab review of Jennifer's Body on the blog All Things Fangirl.
"The thing is, Jennifer's Body is neither Diablo Cody nor Megan Fox. It includes distillations of them that delightfully warp the realities of both, but the movie isn't about them. It's about the painfully familiar and horribly toxic Best Friend relationship, something every single woman or girl I have ever met knows intimately, the horror of which is give physical form on screen. This movie, similar to The Descent, I thought, is a horror movie for girls."
BUST managing editor Emily Rems writes in her review, "the real terror in the plot lies in its metaphorical exploration of obsessive friendship between girls, and how volatile, aggressive, and explosive these bonds can become when children mature into women with more adult urges."
And Jezebel.com even offers 6 Reasons To Love Jennifer's Body.
And as Genevieve so excellently pointed out that Jennifer's Body doesn't stoop to being misandrist, here are some fine fellows who also enjoyed the movie (and not just Megan Fox).
James Rocchi over at Redbox wrote, "Jennifer's Body lacks a certain sinew and structure in its storytelling, but it's got a shiny smile and enough glossy, gory glamor to make it work as a piece of horror-comedy popcorn entertainment."
And A.O. Scott at the New York Times calls it "an unholy mess," adding, "I mean that as a compliment. Yes, the movie's gory set pieces are executed with more carnivorous glee than formal discipline, and its story is as full of holes as some of its disemboweled victims. But coherence has never been a significant criterion for horror movies. If it were, we could forget about Dario Argento and Brian De Palma, half of Hitchcock and most of the entries in the Friday the 13th series. And though it is too soon to install Jennifer's Body in that blood-soaked pantheon, the movie deserves - and is likely to win - a devoted cult following, despite its flaws."
I'm not defending Jennifer's Body wholly or saying that it's a masterpiece or that women should support it just because it was written, directed, and executive produced by women. But I want to add my voice to the support of a cool, fun, smart, angsty film that slakes the bloodlust of the angry teen inside of me.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go find my Bikini Kill CDs.